BB Review: Ruggabellus Fluus 2014
What makes the perfect wine blend? A little of this, a little of that, and a whole lotta heart and soul! In this round, we're putting three blends to the test. Is this Australian red a perfect blend? Let's find out. 👩🏻🔬🍷
BOTTLE: Ruggabellus Fluus 2014 - Australia
WHERE WE BOUGHT IT & PRICE: £30.00 from Lechevalier
ABV & TECH SPECS: Syrah 38% Cinsault 21% Grenache 21% Matero 20% and 13.1% ABV
ABOUT THE VINEYARD: The Ruggabellus winery is found in the hot southern region of the Barossa in Australia, and is headed up by chief Winemaker Abel Gibson, who grew up in this region watching his father make wines for the famous Penfolds winery.
With a focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mataró sourced from various grape growers around the Barossa, Abel uses a high-proportion of stems in the winemaking process to ensure maximum texture, alongside a process called carbonic maceration (often found in Beaujolais) to amplify aromatics. The wines are then aged in old neutral oak for 11 months to not overpower or alter these aromas.
BEHIND THE NAME: The winery is named after the ancient and enchanting land in which the vineyard is based, RUGGABELLUS, which means ‘rugged beauty'.
There were also only 2960 Bottles made of this vintage, which in the wine world is a drop in the ocean!
DINE ON THIS: Mataró is also the Australian name for the grape Mourvèdre. In Spain, this grape goes by the name Monastrell.
WHY KATE BROUGHT THIS BLEND TO THE TABLE: They know how to keep the cheers real at Lechevalier. Caro and I stopped in on a whim one Tuesday afternoon and I immediately fell in love with their enthusiastic staff, their commitment to organic, biodynamic and natural wines, and their simple yet oh-so-tasty bar menu.
Whilst perusing the shelves, I thought this Australian blend would speak to my Beaujolais-loving soul while giving me a whole new taste experience. But I also chose it because I liked the label. And because the name, Ruggabellus, sounds like it should be the name of a Jack White album or a medieval curse.
CARO: Punching like a New World with the elegance & complexity of an Old World. Basically. From its rusty hues and its intricate aromas of fruity amaretto & kirsch, to its WTF watery-yet-full and slightly grippy texture.
A sip of this wine is like biting into the fruit and stem of a sun-ripe strawberry, made even more complex and oh-my-goodness enjoyable by a lingering note of cardamom. Seriously, tell this genius of a winemaker I’ll be naming my imaginary kids after him.
ANGELA: If this wine tastes half as good as the aromatics lead to believe, it’s going to be a great wine. It has a rustic red ruby/orange hue and the savoury and cranberry notes are both pretty and rustic.
Woah – this is soft and juicy but with a bitter edge that gives it body and an interesting texture. The finish is spicy and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until Caro exclaimed, "Cardamom!" and hit the nail on the head. And I love cardamom!
KATE: Oh baby oh baby! First, the colour of this wine is so freaking beautiful. It's an orangy rusty-red with a touch of cloud, like a light morning mist is blowing through the glass. It smells like violets and the insect-electricity of your hands after catching lightning bugs between your palms on a care-free summer evening.
When it comes to taste, let's just say I was not expecting it to taste the way it does. It's a little sour but in an addicting way, like a sweet-and-sour candy that you can't stop eating one-by-one until the box is gone. It's a little tangy like an orange juice, but has the brighter juicy notes of a strawberry. Each mouthful showcases something new, and sipping it is a delight.
If this wine were a person, it would absolutely be the sexy eccentric stranger you meet at a party. You hang on their every word and then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, you find that the two of you are the last ones standing. You were so engrossed in conversation, stories, and their other-worldly beauty, that you didn't even realise your glass was empty and it was time to go. You leave hoping you'll meet again, but in this life, nothing is certain.
WOULD WE HAVE ANOTHER GLASS? This wine is a terrific one to bring out when you're with friends who really love wine. The three of us truly enjoyed every sip and are already looking forward to our next Ruggabellus rendezvous.
Hey! Episode 1 of Season 2 of the Bottle Bitches Podcast just went live!
We talk about dining naked with strangers, ridicule the Wankiest Wine Review of the Week, and answer your most pressing Wine Questions. Give it a listen on Apple Podcasts and don't forget to hit subscribe!
Until next week, happy drinking!