What Do You See in Your Bottle
They say that wine is a reflection of the winemaker. But how many winemaker’s actually wrapped their bottle in a mirror so they can see that reflection? Chris Ringland, a premium Australian winemaker, and Dan Philips, his business partner, are anything but typical in the wine industry. Their portfolio of Australian wines, R Wines, has made a name for itself not only for the high quality and ratings but also the obscure packaging.
Many people recognize the name and label of R Wines’ largest production wine, Bitch. The shocking name made its entry to market easy and recognizable. R Wines also encompasses some other popular brands including Marquis Philips, Roogle, 3 Rings, along with 13 other, smaller production labels. Always searching for small production gems, we focus a bit more in those ‘other 13.’ One of the highest quality (and highest priced) wines available from R Wines and Ringland is called Anamorphosis.
Anamorphosis ($175) is 100% Shiraz from Kalimna in the Barossa Valley (one of my favorite Shiraz regions) in South Australia. Sourced from 40 to 100 year old vines, the wine was aged in the very best French oak barrels for 30 months. This wine is a beauty, displaying characteristics of black currants, blackberry, raspberry and a slight hint of huckleberries. The intense flavors are great now but definitely having aging potential over the next 5 – 10 years. Jay Miller, a wine critic from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, describes the wine as “Voluptuous, thick rich, and full-bodied, it is a powerful yet seamless expression of Shiraz from a great terroir. It will age effortlessly for 20 years but can be enjoyed young because of its mammoth fruit. It is a winemaking tour de force.” The 2005 vintage was rated 96 – 99 points by Miller for The Advocate.
But that’s not the most interesting part. Anamorphosis, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, is an evolutionary increase in complexity of form and function, or an image that appears distorted unless it is viewed from a special angle or with a special instrument. Ringland’s Anamorphosis is both of those definitions. One could argue about the first debating how complex the wine itself is and whether or not it is ‘evolutionary.’ However, the bottle of Anamorphosis is that distorted image. The bottle of Anamorphosis is wrapped in a circular mirror. When shipped to a retailer (or customer), it arrives with a poster. The poster has a number of undiscernable, circular beige figures. But when the mirrored bottle is placed on top of the poster, Zeus himself stares back at you. Wild.
So does Chris Ringland believe that a reflection of himself resembles the god of all Greek gods? I don’t think so. But it is a great, great wine with a bonus of ingenious packaging. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks we have heard rumors that R Wines will no longer be producing wine starting with the 2010 vintage. So we plan on grabbing as much as we can while we can.
For more information on Anamorphosis or how to buy, click here.