For years, the Australian Premium Wine Collection has offered wines with a distinctive blue picture of Australia emblazoned with five white stars. I give great weight to this symbol as an indicator of quality as I shop for wines.
Undoubtedly my favorite of this collection is the Tir Na N'og Old Vine Grenache from the McLaren Vale of South Australia. This wine with the nearly unpronounceable name (unless you speak Gaelic) means "the land of eternal youth."
It is a place inhabited by the Sidhe (fairies), and is the setting for much of Irish folklore. Tir Na N'og is accepted as the inspiration for the tale of Peter Pan, as well.
Although this bottle has no fairy magic, it does wield some very obvious and powerful magic of its own. It has a dark and inky hue with a nose of Chinese 5-spice and cedar, with hints of balsam. It evokes thoughts of a special ceremony as it is swirled in the glass, allowing the scent to waft up and slowly escape. The initial taste is a very potent expression of Grenache, but oddly, there is no heaviness to the concentrated, but balanced flux of macerated, super-ripe cherries and brambly fruit. It simply swarms the palate and lingers on and on. Some trick!
The virtues of this wine all weave together to form an exuberant and enchanted tapestry of purple goodness that you're not likely to forget.
So as you dine at Jackson's, ask for the Australian wine with the Gaelic name and the Celtic knot on the label, and for a time, maybe you can go somewhere magical.
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