It seems that more and more wine makers are using screw tops these days. As the debate continues over whether or not the world is truly running out of cork trees, so continues my search for good, affordable wines. I’ll readily admit that although practical, screw tops aren’t as romantic as real cork. There’s something romantic and exciting about that “pop” sound as a cork is freed from its bottle. Which option is better or more sustainable – Who knows? But I do know that we’ve found two good wines with lowbrow screw tops that hold their own: Banrock Station Shiraz/Cabernet and Ass Kisser Red Wine (seriously, that’s the name). So before you turn up your nose at the screw top, try these two Tuesday Wines. You won’t be sorry.
The Banrock Station is a 2008 blend of 85% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from Good Earth Fine Wine in Australia. Good Earth supports environmental conservation projects around the globe and uses sustainable processes like subsurface irrigation to conserve water. The wine is 13.5% ABV with an aroma that’s heavy on the alcohol without much berry smell. The flavor is slightly peppery with blackberry notes and a hint of smoke. Overall, this is a good wine – safe to serve to a crowd and for the low price of $5.50, it’s a perfect beginner’s red. This is a good choice for those who don’t like a heavily bodied, spicy red. The Cabernet Sauvignon mellows out the bite and masks the earthiness inherent in a 100% Shiraz. We served it with grilled veggies (onion with bacon marmalade), eggplant, bell peppers and Caprese salad.
The Ass Kisser is a unique blend of Petit Verdot, Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro from Rocland Estates in South Australia. I’d never heard of the Petit Verdot or Mataro grapes, but this blend of four varietals works well. With 14.5% ABV and moderate acidity, the wine has a fruity aroma, flavors of ripe summer fruit and a smooth finish. This is an excellent red at $13 and would be wonderful with lamb, beef or spicy Indian food. Don’t let the screw top or the name scare you off. This is good stuff. Not that I’m surprised, since this was another suggestion from Ryan Turner of Muss and Turner’s restaurant in Atlanta, Ga.Reporting from the front porch swing, Mark D.