I dedicate this post to my beloved father who past away in October after a long illness. He and I shared a love for good wine and food in the company of family and friends. How appropriate that one of the wines I tasted from Two Hands Wines was called Angels’ Share ~ for my father enjoying his wine, food, family and friends from above XXOO
October was my deep dive into Australian wines from Two Hands Wines. Tina Morey, owner and founder of #winestudio, a twitter centric wine education program that anyone can participate in Tuesday @ 9ET using #winestudio, was our host and coordinator leading us through the Two Hands Wine program.
My first question was is Syrah and Shiraz the same? Why the different names? Yes, they are genetically the same grape varietal, Australia uses the name Shiraz and France, the country of origin refers to it as Syrah. Syrah vine cuttings were brought to Australia in 1831 from Europe and by the 1860’s Syrah was an established varietal in Australia. Today it is the most widely planted grape variety in Australia.
Shiraz/Syrah is grown throughout the world with concentrations in Australia, The Rhône Valley of France and Spain. The style and flavor profile of Shiraz/Syrah varies depending on where it is grown; the soil and climate, viticulture and winemaking practices. Warmer growing regions tend to produce rich, lush and more fruit forward wines. Cooler growing regions tend to be more fruit restraint with higher acidity.
Two Hands Wine story is unique. Michael Twelftree founder and owner, started Two Hands with a marketing focus. In the beginning he contracted vineyards and winemaking to produce his wines. He established the brand and created a wine style. Two Hands Wine is focused on purity and quality of the fruit and showcasing the individual characteristics of the best Australian Shiraz growing regions. Twelftree along with his winemaker, Ben Perkins blind taste every barrel of wine. The tasting results in a rating/ranking system to determine which wine label the wine will be produced under. The wines are assigned a rating from A+ to D.
B+ to B will go to the Picture Series Wines
A to A- will go to the Garden Series
A to A+ will go to the Single Vineyard Series
A+ will go to the Flagship Wines
The Picture Series Wines are the perfect introduction to Two Hands Wines, each new release creates a new “picture” label. The Picture Series encompasses various wine varietals and growing regions. The suggested retail price is approximately $36. The three Picture Series wines we tasted were; Gnarly Dudes, Angels’ Share and Sexy Beast.
My tasting notes:
2014 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Barossa Valley 100 % Shiraz 13.5% abv
Dark red in color, medium to full bodied. Notes of dark berries and hints of roasted meats, finishing with rich ripe fruit notes.
2014 Two Hands Angels’ Share McLaren Vale 100% Shiraz 14.5%abv
Dark red with a purple hue, full bodied. Nice aromas of plum and spice. More complex on the palate.
2015 Two Hands Sexy Beast 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 13.8% abv
Dark red in color, medium to full bodied. Black currant, black cherry and earthy aromas in the nose with a secondary note of bay leaves.
The Garden Series are super premium Shiraz wines from six of the finest Shiraz growing regions in Australia; Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek, and Heathcote. Two Hands goal with the Garden Series is to showcase regionality. All the Garden Series wines have the same vinification and maturation, only the growing region varies – emphasizing the difference in each region’s soil and climate and therefore the resulting characteristics found in the wine. The suggested retail price is approximately $69. We tasted Bella’s Garden and Lily’s Garden.
My tasting notes:
2014 Two Hands Bella’s Garden Barossa Valley 100% Shiraz 13.5% abv
Dark ruby color with hints of a red blue hue. Notes of blackberry, floral, smokiness and chocolate. Full bodied with noticeable tannins.
2014 Two Hands Lily’s Garden McLaren Vale 100% Shiraz 14.5% abv
Dark ruby with a hint of blue purple. Rich notes of blueberry and plum. Full bodied with a rich soft texture on the palate.
Two Hands also has a Single Vineyard Series, again showcasing regionality but even more precise with the wine coming from an exact growing block down to the road and township.
The Flagship Series is Two Hands top end wine. Remember, these are the barrels in the blind tasting that receive an A+.
I asked Ben Perkins, winemaker at Two Hands Wines, what they like to pair with their Shiraz – not surprising his quick response was quality red meat! I was in Wisconsin during this Two Hands Wines deep dive and was lucky enough to find some quality Wisconsin beef filets.
- 4 beef filet mignon steaks ( about 1½ inches thick)
- freshly ground coarse black pepper
- 2 sweet onions, about 1½ lbs. total, thinly sliced
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt + more for steaks
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- For the Onions
- Melt butter with extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and stir in ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes.
- Uncover and stir in sugar. Increase heat to medium high, stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown about 8-10 minutes.
- Add balsamic vinegar and thyme leaves. Cook for about 1-2 minutes more.
- For the Filets
- Sprinkle both sides of the filets with kosher salt and then coat with freshly ground coarse black pepper.
- Grill directly over medium heat, turning once, until cooked to desired doneness. The filets will take approximately 11-13 minutes total for medium rare(125-130 degrees F). Let filets rest for 2-3 minutes, during this time the internal temperature will increase about 5 degrees. Serve balsamic onions over grilled filets.
Disclosure: The importer/distributor/winery provided the wines for my evaluation. All the opinions expressed are my own.