I was going to start by telling you about the winery, but instead I am going to start with the nose, because it's overwhelmed me. In fact, the instant I popped the cork out it fairly leapt out of the bottle and gave my olfactories a big how do you do! I've never been to a Moroccan night market before, but I now have aromatically speaking , roasting lamb, olives, dried figs, pistachio, and a waft of Ras El Hanout. If a belly dancer was to jingle her way into the room right now I would not be surprised, but my wife doesn't pander to my fantasies like that.
There's a tiger on the bottle, but I reckon it should be a cobra. Or a belly dancer!
So whilst we are enjoying the aromas and waiting for the lady with the veils, let me try to explain the winery. This wine is made by Paul Petagna, and when he made this wine he called his winery Petagna Wines. Paul started making wines because his father in law, Modestino (Steve) Piombo, wanted to make wines, and with Paul's help had planted a nice block of land at Sellicks Hill with Shiraz vines. So Paul learned to make wines with Steve's grapes, and that Winery was called Sellicks Hill Wines and the Shiraz was called Piombo. Petagna Wines is no more, and all wines are now made under the Sellicks Hill Wines label.
You can read about it more on the Sellicks Hill Wines website, but the main point I wanted to get a across is the wine is made by the same person it always has been. In a burst of enthusiasm and optimism, Paul and his wife have recently opened a cellar door right next to the Sellicks Hill Wines vineyard. It's slightly off the beaten track for McLaren Vale, but since it's pretty close to the famous Victory Hotel where they do a great lunch I reckon it's pretty prime for a visit.
I just went back to top up me glass and the bottle is half gone! Apparently my wife likes it, so I'm tempted to leave the bottle there and see if a belly dance is still out of the question later.
Paul called it Dio after the band formed by Ronnie James Dio, formerly of Black Sabbath. Actually that's not true, but in trying to weave a web of lies to support that wild claim I went looking for lyrics, and discovered something - even when you're reading the lyrics to Iron Man, you still have no idea what Ozzy Osbourne is singing.
There is however, a fair whack of heavy metal guitar on the palate, ie. the intensity is pretty full volume but without being distorted (I think the Black Sabbath link just fell on it's face). What I mean is, some wines have power but no finesse - I was going to say it's more like Bruce Lee than Ronnie, but at the risk of eliciting facepalms from you all, it's more like the tiger on the bottle. Hah, I should be in advertising!
The palate is pretty savoury, but it's also got a richness that blends, like a good Tagine - if Saatchi and Saatchi don't phone me up the minute I post this I will be very surprised. Seriously though, those Moroccans have been making Tagines for a few years now, and they certainly understood the brilliance of blending savoury with a little sweetness long before Paul worked it out.
Hard to give a good score when it's based on someone else's blend of flavours, and you happened to choose the right wife, and there's been a complete lack of gyrating bellies by bottle's end, so I'm downgrading this.
Sellicks Hill Wines