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Weird Wine Names Equal Good Taste?

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – Dirty Laundry is hardly a name one would equate with a good wine except, of course, if one is used to drinking New World Wines which have less than tried and true names. Its cute shock value, but you and I are more interested with what is in the bottle than the name it carries.

Dirty Laundry is more buzzy than Château Such and Such.

The label is dignified enough. I was rather expected a pair of dirty underwear smeared on the label but, instead, an iron with delicate lines of steam.

It is a 2013 Cabernet Merlot, light ruby in colour. No big bruiser for sure.

Welcoming aromas of freshly baked cherry pie and raspberries. Light and fruity. Soft tannins surrounded with young sweet cherries and a bit of brackishness.

It does have a decent grip and does not disintegrate into a wobbly fruit punch. Short and simplistic finish. Actually a good party wine that will please everyone.

Also, good with roast chicken. Is it obnoxious of me to refer to this as a British Columbia Valpolicella? I’d have to surmise there might be some American oak involved.

80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot.

(Dirty Laundry 2013 Cabernet Merlot, BC VQA British Columbia, Dirty Laundry Vineyard, Summerland, British Columbia, 750 mL, 14%, LCBO #334441, $24.95. Square Media Group Rating 87/100)

The Dead Arm is not a visually appealing name, reminding me of a bad Vietnam war movie.

Dark ruby in colour. Very tight nose of prunes, dark chocolate, cactus pear, and cigarette smoke. Better said, a complex nose, but somewhat molested by a funky earthiness.

On the palate, wet stone, raisins, and gooseberry. Medium tannins, but a finish that won’t go away, like an annoying mother in law.

This is so very tight for an Australian McLaren Vale, where a floozy fruit bomb may be more the order of the day. It is so stern, I feel I am talking to the Pope instead of Ozzie Osborne.

If this was an attempt to imitate a French Syrah it has failed and, as an Australian, it has also failed as a stereotypical McLaren Vale.

I’ll retreat to the background and try it again. Considering the price of this wine, I feel robbed. In terms of zoloenjoyment and value, I would prefer the Cabernet Francs of Lake Erie North Shore, which offer more fruit and elegance than this Aussie pretender.

(D’Arenberg, 2010 The Dead Arm, McClaren Vale, 750 mL, 14%, LCBO #430512, $54.95. Square Media Group Rating 87/100)

Zolo is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza Argentina.

Dark Ruby in colour with full and delicious notes of blackberry, black cherry, liquorice, and fresh baked warm blueberry pie.

On the palate, black cherry, pomegranate, and rhubarb; the latter giving it a bit of tartness. The tannins are there, if you are deliberately looking for them with a purposeful swish.

On a casual basis, it is a mid weight wine. Pleasurable and well made and good for 3-5 years.

The slight tart finish is unusual for a Cabernet Sauvignon, where one expects a bit more richness. Accordingly it would seem to fit tomato sauce based dishes. (Zolo Reserve 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Finca Patagonicas, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina, 750 mL, 14%, LCBO #054098. Square Media Group Rating 90/100)

Let’s finish off with a very well known Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz from Australia. If there is a leader in weird wine names, Australia has always been out in front.

In colour, mid to dark purple, suggesting some Mad Max intensity. A heady nose of caramel covered chocolate with both raisin and blueberry pie. There is also a healthy dose of chocolate wafer cookies and a creamy cassis.

Sturdy and true on the palate with a powerful and thick stream of thick black fruit.

Although there is a hint of Cohiba on the finish, this reputational hitter rather falls short of memorable. As an old sailor may have said, “Aye mate. A good Quaff!”

There can be power with elegance or complexity. This wine, though quaffable as the old sailor remarked, lacks an identity that could propel it into the category of an exceptional wine. (Two Hands Gnarly Dudes, 2014 Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Two Hands Wines Pty Ltd, Marananga, South Australia, 750 mL, 13.8%, LCBO #660043, $24.95. Square Media Group Rating 89/100)

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