Alpha Box & Dice Golden Mullet of Fury 2009
Blend: 50% Muscadelle, 50% Chardonnay
Alpha Box & Dice is former Red Heads Studio's head winemaker Justin Lane's new winery. Justin is a bit of a legend among ‘garage’ wine makers for his passionately crafted wines and loveable rogue-vintner ways. After years of making other people’s bottles notorious, Lane’s newest incarnation has become an extension of his soul.
Wines without boundaries – regional, varietal or stylistic. Wines whose entire raison d’être is to be delicious and to express the minutia and complexity of site and vintage conditions. Wines that enchant; wines that delight you and leave you betwixt the rock and a ripe grape. Through a series of random experiments in the field and adventures in vinous bricolage, these are AB&D modest goals.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers work diligently to ensure grapes reach the perfect levels of phenolic ripeness.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Shiraz on its own or Rhône Blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Often Shiraz and Cabernet partner up for plump and powerful reds. While much less prevalent, light-skinned varieties such as Riesling, Viognier or Semillon produce vibrant Barossa Valley whites.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.