Let's get this embarrassing use of winespeak out of the way and move on: The 2007 Water Wheel Memsie (about $16 at big-box stores) is a sassy Australian red with a flamboyantly jammy nose.
It also is a gorgeous, easy-drinking wine, accessible but just complex enough to justify its price. Memsie, named for the old homestead at Water Wheel Vineyards in the Bendigo region northwest of Melbourne, blends four grapes to satisfying effect. Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon take the lead, abetted by judicious injections of malbec and petit verdot. (The just-released 2008 leaves out the petit verdot.)
In the glass it releases a heady aroma of currant and blackberry. Those fruits dominate on the tongue, but a distinct hint of mint and roses adds tickle to the mix. A whisper of mellow leather creeps in around the edges before the wine jumps to a medium-long, clean finish accented by dark round chocolate notes. Yum!
This playful wine would purr in the company of garlicky grilled lamb chops or something as spicy and robust as jambalaya.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.