WARNING: This wine is not for everyone. I innocently picked up a bottle of 2008 Southern Belle, Shiraz (McLaren Vale) produced and bottled by R Wines thinking nothing of it. Whoever came up with the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” was probably drinking this wine. The label features an ornate charming Southern Belle implying that this will be a graceful wine. From color, aromas, and taste this was anything but subtle. Don’t get me wrong, this wine is delicious and given the $20 price point I was even happier.
Southern Belle was partially aged in American Oak barrels for 18 months that were previously used for Kentucky Bourbon. Yeah, you heard that right…and with 17.6% alcohol content, some would even call this a manly wine. I’ve never had a wine like this and quite honestly, it was pretty awesome. The color is very dark and deep. Notes of confection, blackberry preserves, molasses, coffee, and spice make this a very rich and smooth glass. This is not an everyday wine, nor is it for the faint of heart as there are complex flavors of wine and whiskey involved. This bottle is best paired with a cigar and barbequed ribs or any red meat with barbeque sauce but the cigar is key. Don’t be deceived by the pretty southern belle – this is a stogie-smokin’ rib-eatin’ fire breathing Shiraz! Sláinte! TCW