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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Start Fourth of July Week with Big, Bold Insurrection

Insurrection Red Blend 2015, Australia

Cost: $16-18

Because the Fourth of July lands on a Wednesday this year, I decided to treat the whole week as a Fourth of July weekend. To kick it off I grilled hamburgers and looked for a bold red wine to go with them.

An all-American sight at the start of an all-American week.

I grabbed the Insurrection, thinking it was an American wine, but when I read the label more closely and saw it was from Australia, I decided to change the theme of the week. I’ll still be drinking a lot of American wines in honor of our independence, but I can bring in wines that might be related to that theme.

For instance, Insurrection is perfect, because our country was founded on an insurrection, our rebellion against Great Britain.

I made a good choice. The Insurrection blend is packed with big flavor. Winemaker Steve Roden says this is a “big, badass wine for people who love concentrated flavors.”

I can’t argue with that assessment. It is big and bold, from the aromas to the finish. It is a deep dark red in the glass, with plenty of berry aromas. On the palate you get cassis, chocolate, cherry and sage. The wine has a velvety mouthfeel with a long, lush finish. I opened the bottle 30 minutes before drinking it and probably should have opened it even sooner. This bad boy needs some time to breathe.

The wine is 75 percent shiraz and 25 percent cabernet sauvignon. The grapes are grown in South Eastern Australia in the cool-climate subregions of Padthaway, Coonawarra and Langhorne Creek.

The cab adds power and structure while the shiraz adds berry and spice flavors.

I’ve had Insurrection before and it never fails to deliver the flavor and boldness it promises. The blend has been different in previous years, and one year it even included some merlot.

“Insurrection comes from Australia, where people decide for themselves and no one apologizes for living full throttle,” says Roden, a big, badass character himself. He appears on a video on the Insurrection website, talking about the wine, while we see him riding a big motorcycle.

Grapes were left on the vine as long as possible, maximizing fruit flavors for a wine that is intensely rich and ripe. Night harvesting maintained freshness, rotary fermentation enhanced power and medium oak treatment added toast and spice. The wine is aged for four months in 64 percent American oak and 36 French oak.

Langhorne Creek is one of Australia’s most historic wine -growing areas. The ancient flood plain that the region sits on is the reason for its unique, alluvial soils. The vines are fed via natural irrigation from rainwater that descends from the Mount Lofty Ranges. The temperate climate, driven partially by cool breezes from Lake Alexandria, allow for a long ripening season.

Padthaway sits in the Limestone Coast of Southeastern Australia. Its Mediterranean climate and famous “terra rossa” soil contributes to wines of tremendous character.

Winery: Insurrection Wine Co. produces just this red blend and a cabernet sauvignon under the direction of Roden, who has made many popular Australian wines such as Fish Eye and Foxhorn.

The Sydney native, who is vice president of operations for parent company The Wine Group, learned about wine from a favorite uncle. He started his first cellar when he was 18 (the legal drinking age in Australia).

Though he made mining his career, he gained more wine knowledge as he traveled around the world. As his passion for wine grew he decided to give up coal mining and started making wine.

Roden’s reputation grew as he worked for some of the top wineries that put Australia’s great wines on the map. He was among the winemakers producing big, hearty wines Americans love to drink.

Roden says his experience has given him an unwavering appreciation for wines with power, flavor and drinkability, and for finding the right Australian grapes to deliver those things.

The Wine Group started as a part of Coca-Cola Bottling of New York. Then in 1981 the management team used a leveraged buy-out to take over the wine business. By 1984 it was a privately held company. It is the world’s third-largest wine producer by volume.

With headquarters in Livermore, California, The Wine Group includes such labels as Almaden, Big House, Concannon, Corbett Canyon, Cupcake, FlipFlop, Franzia and Trapiche.

Dennis started the Fourth of July celebrations with the big, bold Insurrection cab/shiraz blend.

Goes with: We kicked off the long Fourth of July week with cheeseburgers on the grill, a traditional American summer favorite. They were big and rich and juicy (I didn’t overcook them.) and loaded with bold flavor.

The Insurrection was the perfect wine with these burgers. We needed a powerful wine to stand up to the bold flavors.

The rich, ripe fruit flavors were a good counterbalance to the burgers, which we loaded with thick slices of tomato and lettuce. We added French Fries and had an All-American treat.

You could also serve this wine wth a big, thick steak on the grill, lamb, chicken or chili.

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