Two Hands - a Down Under gem

Marco Prime, DaVinci's

Leaving Chili, and indeed South America for now, we continue our wine travels around the world to discover great wines on the continent of Australia.

Not many of us know that Australian wine industry is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine, and the second largest producer of Shiraz after France.

Unlike Europe and the Americas, Australia does not have native grape vines, so to produce wine, they were imported.

This first happened in 1788, when cuttings were brought aboard a ship from the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa). These first vines were planted in Sydney on a site called Farm Cove and unfortunately, due to intense heat and humidity, the vines rotted.

These vines may not have produced the first legendary Australian vintage, but the introduction of wine grapes in 1788 marked the beginning of wine making in Australia. The Australian wine industry was greatly impacted in 1833 when a man named James Busby brought back cuttings from France and Spain, thus introducing varietals from these regions. French grape Shiraz went on to become a major player in the Australian and global markets! European grapes such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Grenache - among others - have also had successes on Aussie soil.

The particular wine I would like to talk about today is Two Hands Shiraz. Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz founded Two hands winery in 1999. From the beginning, the vineyard set out to be unique. This approach is reflected in everything from the names of the wines through to innovative packaging and, not least, the wines themselves.

Two Hands has grown to be a clear market leader and is now sold in over 30 markets worldwide. From small beginnings, the winery has been able to manage its growth organically whilst maintaining an absolute quality focus.

Bella’s Garden Shiraz is from Barossa Valley, one of Australia's oldest wine regions. The generally hot climate of the Barossa Valley usually means that the grapes become ripe very easily with high levels of sugars and low levels of acids, and the wine is usually high in alcohol level from the fermented sugars.

Two Hands Bella’s garden, named after the winery proprietor's daughter, is a Super Premium range of six Shiraz from six of the finest Shiraz producing regions in Australia.

This wine captures the attention with colors of deep dark red and a black core. It practically bursts out of the glass almost in a brooding, elegant manner with juicy red and black fruits with notes of five spice, earth, black pepper and sandalwood.

The palate rolls on and on with subtle chocolate and spice notes. A brilliant vintage of Barossa Valley Shiraz, yet it feels moody and tightly coiled.

In November 2012, Two Hands was named in Wine Spectator's annual Top 100 for the 10th consecutive year, an achievement that has never been equal by any other winery the world over.

The heavy tannins in Shiraz love the bitter nature of charred food, so this is a great wine to pair with grilled steaks or fish, peppercorn crusted tuna, and grilled vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. Try this wine at Marco Prime with any of our delicious steaks, charred salmon or grilled tuna.

Boun apetitto and salute.

Adamo Serravalle is co-owner of Marco Prime and DaVinci’s at Marco Walk. He is a wine connoisseur, and along with Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay and Marco Porto of chop239 is a regular contributor to this column.