Two Hands Sophie's Garden Shiraz 2003
"Dark, ripe and plush in texture, with a strong minty character that runs through the vivid blackberry and roasted plum at the center, persisting on the spicy, mildly cedary finish. Tannins need to settle in. Best from 2006 through 2012." -Wine Spectator
The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage.
The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia. With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mold and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.
Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion. From the outset, Two Hands set out to be unique and innovative, this approach is reflected in everything from the names of the wines through to, not least, the wines themselves. From small beginnings, the winery has been able to manage its growth organically whilst maintaining an absolute quality focus. Premium fruit is sourced from the finest Shiraz growing regions in Australia, and Two Hands works closely with its estate vineyards and band of growers to ensure the full potential of each vineyard is reached. They handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.
In its simplest form, it could be said that they squeeze the grapes and put them in a bottle. However, in practice there are many different steps and countless hours involved, from vineyard, through to winemaking, tasting, blending and maturation in order to make consistent, quality wines.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.