Archive for Mollydooker Wines


Posted in Info on Wine with tags , , , , on January 3, 2010 by ballymote

If your first two questions are “who are Sarah and Sparky?” and “why do they need defending?” then you have come to the right place.

“Sarah and Sparky” are Sarah and Sparky Marquis, a husband and wife team of winemakers in Australia. They were the driving force behind the very popular Marquis Phillips line of Aussie wines and currently they produce one of my favorite lines, Mollydooker.  They were also responsible, several years back, for making my favorite wine of all time, the 2001 Shirvington. Sarah and Sparky are no longer associated with the Marquis Phillips line of wines although they are still being made under that name by another Australian winemaker, Chris Ringland. The original collaboration on those wines was a partnership between Sarah, Sparky and an importer named Dan Phillips (thus the Marquis Phillips name) who has a company called The Grateful Palate. Troubles in wine paradise resulted in a protracted legal battle that resulted in Mr. Phillips retaining the rights to the Marquis Phillips name and he continues to produce these wines long after Sarah and Sparky have disassociated themselves from the project. Interestingly, one of the wines produced each year by the Marquis Phillips people is a Shiraz/Cab blend titled “Sarah’s Blend”. That doesn’t seem particularly fair to me but, that’s another story for another time.

The Mollydooker wines  ( Australian for “left-handed, which both Sarah and Sparky are) have gained a legion of fans here in the USA.  Sarah and Sparky produce wines at a variety of price points. In the $25.00 range they have an excellent shiraz called “The Boxer”, a merlot “The Scooter”, a cab/shiraz/merlot blend “Two Left Feet”, a cabernet “The Maitre D” and a white wine “The Violinist”. They have other wines at the $50.00 price point, two high-end offerings, a shiraz “Carnival of Love” and a shiraz/cab blend “Enchanted Path” which are in the $80 range. Their Top of the Line, pride of the family, is a rich shiraz called “The Velvet Glove” which tops in at $200.00 per bottle (I have one of these and am looking for the right time to give it a try).

Now, as to why they need defending. I like these wines, most of the time. For those who can’t find a wine they like I would ask that you invest $25.00 at your local wine outlet and pick up a bottle of the shiraz,” The Boxer”. It’s full of rich, dark fruit flavor, considerably more so than most wines. Therein lies the problem. Most wine aficionados feel that wine shouldn’t have this much flavor. I have read tons of complaints saying they can’t drink these wines, they wouldn’t drink them for free, and my favorite comment that I have seen more than once, “it’s not for drinking, it should be spread on toast.” When I went to look up something on these wines here are the first two reviews that I came across:

“This stuff was absolutely wretched. Over the top alcoholic and artificial fruit flavors that remind me of trying to wash dirt out of my mouth with Robitussin cough syrup.”

“I’m universally underwhelmed by the Marquis wines. Maybe some of you who are constantly bitching about the price of some wines can stock up.

You’re welcome to my share.”

The truth is, these wines are fruit bombs. I don’t think they go all that well with food. I do think that they are fun to drink with cheese or just sitting around before a meal. There is definitely a place for these wines and Sarah and Sparky do a fantastic job of marketing their wines. They are truly PR experts. I have never met them but have corresponded with them many times and they both seem like genuinely nice people.

Do yourself a favor. Try one of their wines. Then come back and thank me.


Posted in Favorite Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by ballymote

There is a hierarchy within the world of wine geeks. I’m afraid I am not in the upper echelon of wine geeks. There are probably a few reasons for that but the primary one might be that my budget does not enable me to drink the high end wines very often and precludes me from drinking the highest of the high at any time. At least, so far. One never knows when a wine miracle might take place.

If I were a member in good standing of the highest echelon of wine geeks my favorite wine might be one of the true classics like Chateau Petrus, Screaming Eagle, or a Domaine Romanee Conti. Unfortunately, none of those grape spectaculars has ever met my palate. I have had the opportunity to taste a couple of the first growth from Bordeaux at a wine tasting but they didn’t impress me all that much.

The wine that did make me go “wow”, and it has done so on more than one ocassion was the 2001 Shirvington Shiraz from McLaren Vale in Australia.IMG_2436









This beauty from the land of Oz has it all; a nose of incredible scent that simply intoxicates the senses. There is a bouquet of rose petals, soft cherries, ripe raspberries, chocolate and even cotton candy. The first sip brings a powerful taste of an array of red and black fruits mingled with that same cotton candy with a touch of licorice all balanced perfectly with tannins that are soft and warm. The finish continues for a full 60 seconds and you just know you are experiencing near perfection in a wine.

The 2002 Shirvington was equally enjoyable and was rated 99 points by Robert Parker. I believe the 2001 garnered 98 points. Both of these superb wines were crafted by the outstanding Aussie winemaker, Sparky Marquis. He no longer makes Shirvington as he was replaced by Kim Johnston in 2004. The current Shirvingtons are still excellent but none have achieved the greatness of the 01 and 02’s. Sparky Marquis and his wife Sarah are now owners and winemakers for a brand called Mollydooker and I will write at length on those excellent products in a future post. There are still a few of the 2001 and 2002 Shirvington’s available online at prices starting around $125.00. If you can afford them and want to experience a truly great wine then I would suggest you grab one or more before they are extinct.