Friday, 6 January 2012

Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz (2010)

The team behind Some Young Punks are not necessarily the most conventional of winemakers. However, considering that the world’s greatest wines are not necessarily conventional (adding Cabernet Sauvignon to Chianti to produce a “Super Tuscan” for the first time was certainly not conventional!) this lack of conformity might not be a bad thing.  That said, when the Independent Wine Review met Some Young Punks winemaker Col McBryde at a wine tasting in an esteemed London restaurant, perhaps a suit would have been more appropriate than a heavily worn and riveted leather jacket...

Unmoved by the overblown and porty styles of Shiraz that their Australian colleagues were and indeed are making, The Young Punks instead attempt to induce a sense of place and restraint in their wines, thereby combining the best of both the old and new worlds of winemaking, in their own home of South Australia. Sourcing grapes from across South Australia, the team of three Punks (Col McBryde, Jen Gardner and Nic Bourke) work with natural yeasts to craft an extensive and colourfully labelled selection of wines. Part of their stand against conformity and convention, these labels (inspired by a comic book in the case of this “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz) are also part of a clever marketing strategy which has seen the Some Young Punks wines gain something of a “cult” status around the world.

A 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Shiraz, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” sees the Tempranillo (yes – the grape variety that normally forms the basis of Rioja from Spain) sourced from a small planting of 9 year old vines in the Adelaide Hills, east of the city of Adelaide. Meanwhile the Shiraz component for this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” is sourced from a planting of 32 year old vines from the Clare Valley, north of Adelaide.

After picking and transportation to the winery, the grapes destined for this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” are crushed, before being left in contact with the juice for nearly 3 weeks as fermentation occurs. The wine is then transferred to French oak barriques (small oak barrels) for 14 months to allow maturation and blending.

Bottled in a averagely weighted, low shouldered bottle with a blue screw cap, the bottle of this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz is pretty unassuming until you consider the label. Depicting Trixie and Tessa Love attempting to escape monsters and Ninjas in Trouble Town (yes, seriously) it is this label that is for some a significant part of the allure of this wine.

In the glass, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” is a deep and bright purple colour. More than moderately intense in the centre of the glass, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” fades slightly to the rim that shows both a raspberry hue and a hint of rusticity from this wine’s time in oak. In terms of alcohol, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” does show some restraint at 14.5% abv, although the vibrant colour of this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” means that the legs of the wine are clearly visible as it runs down the side of the glass.

The nose of this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” is fragrant and fresh (perhaps the opposite that you might expect from a wine with a significant dollop of South Australian Shiraz in it). Lifted red cherry, raspberry wine gum and a darker blackberry core of aromas are almost delicate initially, but become deeper and richer the longer your nose is exposed to them. A hint of Shiraz spice ripples through the deepening blackberry at the end of the bouquet of this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble”, but it is subtle and adds just a light seasoning of pepper notes to a nose that would otherwise be overwhelmed by it.

Once in the mouth, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” is medium to full-bodied and very smooth indeed. The core flavours are much the same as on the nose, with fresh and perfectly ripe red fruit (neither tart nor sweet) leading into a mid palate of juicy and thicker blackberry that is clearly the juicy fruit of 32 year old Shiraz vines. Never syrupy (and absent of explosive spice), this thicker mid-palate leads to a finish which develops wonderfully in your mouth once the wine is swallowed. Initially exhibiting echoes of blackberry, the finish persists towards gentle cassis, redcurrant and candied cherry notes as it fades.

In short, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz is unusual, but wonderful nevertheless. Of the Australian winemakers who use this Spanish grape, the vast majority make it the main part (80%+) of a blend (with varying degrees of success), here by making this “Double Love Trouble” a 50/50 Tempranillo/Shiraz blend, the Some Young Punks team have produced a wine which is genre-less both in terms of simple classification and in taste. This Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” is a wine with its own identity.

Potentially not to the taste of those who love that high alcohol and syrupy style of blackcurrant bomb Shiraz that has become not unusual around Adelaide, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” was not designed for people of those tastes anyway. In a world of increasing homogenisation when it comes to wine, Col McBryde and the Some Young Punks team have carved their own niche and this is to be applauded. The landscape of the wine market is richer and more interesting for their contribution.

A lack of clear structure in this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz makes food pairing more difficult (as does the unusual flavour profile which would not necessarily pair well with the traditional Shiraz food matches). However, this Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz is perfect for drinking with no accompaniment and should be drunk with whatever you enjoy it with. Take a leaf out of the Some Young Punks playbook – experiment and enjoy.
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Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz (2010)

Score: 90/100 – Unique, loveable and entirely unpretentious

Value for Money: 7/10 – This 2010 Some Young Punks “Double Love Trouble” Tempranillo/Shiraz will set you back around £15 per bottle in the UK, but find another wine that tastes quite like this (at any price)
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