2020 Thorn-Clarke “Shotfire: Quartage Red Blend” South Australia (Alcohol 14%, Residual Sugar 3 g/l) LCBO Vintages $20.95 (750ml glass bottle)

During the warmer summer months, I’m always on the lookout for affordable barbecue-friendly reds with a bit of heft to serve to friends who don’t share my penchant for lighter red styles.

I’ve mentioned Thorne-Clarke’s “Shotfire” Barossa Shiraz a few months previously, but this Quartage red blend from the same producer caught my eye palate just the other week and has since become a great standby for thirsty visitors whose tastes veer towards the more full-bodied. Some digging about saw that this sells for about $32 Canadian through the winery website, so at $20.95 in Vintages, this is an absolute steal.

As befits the Quartage name, this is a blend of four grapes: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. These are all separately harvested, fermented, aged in French oak for 12 months, and racked after 6 months before finally being blended together into the final cépage.

The resultant wine has a very appealing bouquet of liquorice, blackcurrants, brambles, mulberries, and a nice touch of cooking spices and tobacco leaf. In the mouth, one will find an unexpected degree of acidity and vivacity that is particularly unusual at this price point. While there is a pleasant, sweet attack, there’s a savoury edge here. It’s medium-full-bodied with extremely soft and supple tannins. Any astringency only really appears on the extended finish, which is a fitting end to what is a very drinkable glass of wine.

This bottling was simply made for grilled meats: steaks, ribs, sausages, etc.

3.5 apples out of 5
(Three and a half out of a possible five apples)



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