Sat 18 Oct 2008
On the plate: A medium-rare hamburger that holds three pieces of crisp bacon and a slab of melted Swiss cheese, a slice of onion, a slice of tomato and a leaf of lettuce. Yes, I was hungry, and I ran with it. The burger was a take out order from a favorite local place, The Belmont Grill, an establishment that defines “dive” and has occupied its corner for decades. Oh, and an order of onion rings, not scooped from a large sack of frozen onion rings, but the actual handmade and dipped in batter variety.
In the glass: The d’Arenberg “The Stump Jump” Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2006, McLaren Vale. This is a great, authentic, highly individual winery, one of my favorites in Australia. The blend for this vintage is 46 percent grenache, 34 percent shiraz and 20 percent mourvèdre. The bouquet is wild and funky and earthy, delivering a snootful of blackberry and black currant highlighted by plums and a hint of blueberry. Give this one a few minutes, and the dried spice and dried flower elements smolder forth, as if you had emptied the spice box into the potpourri, stirred it together and set it ablaze; those minutes also impart a touch of wet dog and rooty mossiness. In the mouth, lushness is balanced by vibrant acid, while soft, mellow tannins lend a firm but supple texture. Drink now through 2010 or ’11 with barbecue brisket or fajitas or hamburgers. I rate this Very Good+. The 2007 version of this wine is in some markets now, but there’s plenty of the ’06 available. I paid $16, but that’s definitely the high end; a quick search reveals prices as low as $8, though the median is $12.
Imported by Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, Ca.