Mollydooker Knocks It Out of the Park (Again)

feetGetting to know Mollydooker wines is like getting to know the hottest guy in town — it ain’t easy. He’s a lot more popular than you are, so he can be choosy, and make you wait.

I’ve been trying to get to know Mollydooker wines, but they’re maddeningly hard to get (because they sell out). I can’t find them at all in my home state — I had to have a single bottle delivered like a CARE package from the state next door. It was The Boxer, and it was great, and I wrote a story about it that you can read here.

So I just about jumped out of my skin when I saw not one, but two bottles of Molly Dooker Two Left Feet 2008 sitting on a retailer’s shelf. They went home with me, needless to say, and I treated them to a Rib dinner.sarah sparky

Before I talk about the wine, let me fill you in on the winery. ”Mollydooker” is another one of those wacky  Aussie words, and it means “left-handed,” which describes Sarah and Sparky Marquis. This young couple are Australian wine royalty, having won everything from Australian Winemakers of the Year (several times) to  five, count’em, five 99 point ratings from  The Wine Advocate. They started out partnering with grape growers to create exceptional fruit, from which they made exceptional wines. Some of their early brands include Marquis Philips and Henry’s Drive, both of which win the ratings sweepstakes on a regular basis.

The key to their exceptional wines is the vineyard, with a trademarked process they call the “Marquis Vineyard Watering Programme.” Vineyard canopy management and irrigation are meticulously controlled throughout the season, particularly as they near harvest. Here’s why: As grapes near maturity, their sugar levels shoot up very quickly. That may seem like a good thing, but there’s a catch: to reach their full flavor potential, grapes must also be physiologically ripe. The ripening of the polyphenols and other compounds that produce complex flavors lag behind the sugars, so here’s what they do:

“the Mollydooker team applies water to control the sugar level until the flavor level catches up. Leigh, Sparky’s Dad and Vineyard Programme Manager, tells us, “It’s the range and intensity of the flavor which translates into Marquis Fruit Weight™, and ultimately into the incredibly rich, velvety wines that have become Sarah and Sparky’s trademark.”

Now isn’t that cool?

So let’s get to the wine.

First of all, Two Left Feet is named “for what happens when Sparky dances with Sarah.” Say no more… But Sparky’s clearly a better winemaker than a dancer, as evidenced by the amazing wine he created out of “the vintage from hell.” The 2008 growing season saw a huge heat spike that created havoc in the vineyard, to the point where Mollydooker didn’t even produce their higher tier wines that year. But that’s good! It means Two Left Feet includes top-quality declassified fruit. The grapes were sourced from vineyards in three regions — Padthaway, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale — bringing intensity and complexity to the final blend.

Two Left Feet is also a blend of Sparky and Sarah’s favorites reds; Shiraz (68%), Merlot (17%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%). The addition of the Merlot and Cab do wonderful things to the Shiraz (1+1+1=4?). When I poured this opaque purple/red wine, I got sweet fruit on the nose, with a little vanilla and spice. The palate offered loads more black raspberry and a hint of mocha. Then the raspberry cream kicked in — a wonderful sensation of rich fruit and velvet. But the wine wasn’t flabby or jammy. The acid and tannins balanced the fruit, and the generous American and French oak rounded it all out.

This thing is supposed to be 16% alcohol, but I didn’t get “heat” (that sensation of extreme alcohol running up your nose and in the back of your throat). I got intensity without weight, and that’s a great thing.  You should make a point to find this, or any other Mollydooker wine, and be sure to let me know how you like it. Or better yet, tell Sarah, Sparky, Janet (her mom), and Leigh (Sparky’s dad). They’d love to hear from you. Cheers!


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One Response to “Mollydooker Knocks It Out of the Park (Again)”

  • Hey Debbie,
    Wow! What a fantastic review. Janet just happened to stumble upon it and we were completely blown away. I’d like to get some samples to you, so can you please email me and we’ll work out the details. Thanks so much and looking forward to hearing back from you!

    Krissy Miller
    Marketing Coordinator, Mollydooker Wines

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