Today is Halloween, probably my least favorite holiday of the year. Call me a pumpkin-hating grinch if you want but I’ll stick to my guns: October 31st should be celebrated by children begging for sugary treats. Adults should set their sights a little higher, in my humble opinion. I’m talking about wine, which gives parents something to do and (conveniently) smooths over everything I find annoying about the holiday.
Yet, despite all the eye-rolling I engage in at this time of year, I’m not too cynical to indulge in some old-fashioned fun. When I received an odd-shaped box from Donna White PR (odd because it didn’t seem to have any wine inside) my curiosity was piqued.
The first thing I pulled out was a very – ahem – stylish wig, like the one my grandmother used to wear. Next was a dull brown bathrobe, followed by a uniquely patterned pair of lounge pants. Toward the bottom I found a fake beard/mustache that almost matched the wig, as well as a pair of dark sunglasses. Finally, when I was just about to call the PR office to find out what the heck was going on, my eyes rested on the holy grail: a bottle of Two Hands Wines Gnarly Dudes Shiraz.
Suddenly it all made sense.
Ethan and Joel Coen’s cult film The Big Lebowski made its debut 20 years ago, and Michael Twelftree (founder of Two Hands Wines in Barossa Valley) couldn’t resist linking the anniversary to his old vines Shiraz called Gnarly Dudes. No, the Dude wasn’t roaming around the vineyards, swirling a White Russian in his glass; the wine takes its name from the gnarled old Shiraz vines that produce a high-powered, lush red wine. Just take a look at the label in the photo at the top; it features one of these old vines. Gnarly, right?
The Dude Abides
This Halloween I rejected my disdain for the holiday and donned the Dude Apparel. And then I made my husband do it. Together we toasted the wonderful wine (and great sense of humor) of Michael Twelftree as we snapped pics of each other channeling our inner Dudes.
So here’s the million dollar question: to paraphrase a supermarket check-out line tabloid, Who Wore It Better?
2017 Gnarly Dudes Barossa Valley Shiraz (14.1% abv; $30 retail)
Note: This wine was sent to me as a promotional sample; everything in this review is my own opinion.
This wine is 100% Shiraz from old vines yielding small crops of grapes with rich and concentrated flavors. It was matured for 12 months in French oak (13% new, the rest one- to six-year old puncheons and hogsheads.)
Color: Deep ruby with glints of violet toward the edge.
Nose: A bouquet of ripe red and black fruit – raspberry, blackberry, plum – balanced by earthy and herbal notes that add richness to the profile. It is heady and intriguing.
Palate: All the fruit promised on the nose, punched up with medium+ acidity and well-integrated tannins. The rich earthy notes are there too, opening to spicy pepper, thyme, and bitter chocolate. This is an easy wine to like, and it goes down quick! If you’re inviting friends to share a glass or two, better buy a couple (or three) bottles!
Pairing: We enjoyed the Gnarly Dudes Shiraz with roasted pork chops over a mix of rainbow chard and white beans. No complaints from the peanut gallery!
Thanks to Two Hands Wines and The Dude for inspiring me to have a little fun this Halloween.
If you’d like to read my post on Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon, another kick-ass offering from Two Hands Wines, click here. It refers to one of my favorite actors – Ben Kingsley – in my favorite movie of his. No, it’s not Gandhi! It’s Sexy Beast and it’s downright hilarious.