Food & Drink

In love with Mollydooker

I had a Mollydooker moment when I dragged a beer-loving friend to a wine tasting.

I knew something was happening when I heard her announce – from three tables away – “I LOVE this wine.” The wine was Mollydooker's The Boxer.

Sparky and Sarah Marquis (pronounced mar-QWIS) are the owners of Mollydooker. The name is Australian slang for “left-handed.”

A couple since they met in wine school, the Marquises produced award-winning wines for some of Australia's best-known labels for a dozen years before starting their own company in 2005.

From their first release, the wines have been a hit. Critics rave, restaurants fight for bottles, and Mollydooker lovers scour stores for new arrivals.

Full of flavor and velvety rich fruit, the wines reach out and lure you in. Like a party in a bottle, Mollydooker wines are just plain fun to drink, and I haven't tasted one that doesn't make you lick you lips and look for another sip.

Keith Messick of Winestore calls them “just a huge glass of chocolate-covered cherries and strawberries.”

During a recent visit to Charlotte for the every-other-year Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend, the couple shared their winemaking philosophy.

They believe the best wines showcase the fruit and are easy to enjoy and sip.

Sparky Marquis coined the term “fruit weight” to describe the taste of his wines. Fruit weight essentially means how far back on the tongue you can taste the fruit before the underlying structure (tannin, acid and alcohol) is exposed.

In Mollydooker wines, the higher the fruit weight, the more expensive the wine. The Lefty Series, rated about 65 to 70 percent fruit weight, usually sells for about $20. It includes the popular shiraz, The Boxer, as well as a lovely cab, a merlot and one of my current favorite whites, The Violinist.

The next tier is the Party series, in the $50 range, with a fruit weight of 75 to 80 percent. It includes a shiraz, a cabernet sauvignon and a sparkling shiraz.

The two-bottle Love Series retails for about $80, and wine-loving couples snap up the pair for anniversary gifts: When the two bottles are placed together, they form a complete label.

All the wines are bottled with screw caps and the labels peel off so you can keep them to remember the wine you like. (It's about time somebody thought of that.)

The wines also are bottled with a little nitrogen gas to help preserve them. There is a special twist, called the Mollydooker shake, to release it. You pour out about a half a glass, recap the bottle, turn it upside down and shake. This is fun to do in a crowded restaurant – watch the horrified looks on other customers' faces.

You can see a demo of the Mollydooker shake at www.mollydocker.com and you can buy wines for home delivery.

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