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Two Hands Wines, Barossa, Australia 

Website: www.twohandswines.com
UK agent: Alliance Wine (www.alliancewine.co.uk)

Temperature matters. I tasted these wines twice a few months apart. The first time, they were too cold – it was the right at the start of one of the Decanter events and they hadn’t had a chance to reach a decent drinking temperature. On that occasion they consistently scored perhaps 2 or 3 points lower than on the second occasion, reported here, so I’m ignoring my first set of tasting notes.

Whether or not you like the Two Hands' wines or not is largely a matter of style. I’ll come right out and say that I don’t really like them. It’s not just a question of size: these are undoubtedly big wines, but I do appreciate some big wines – just not these ones. These are ripe and bold with plenty of oak, but for me they don’t have the right definition of flavour. The fruit is just a little too pushed and sweet, and the oak overlay is a little heavy. You’ll notice that I’ve scored these wines quite highly, though: I recognize that they are very well made for this style and will have lots of fans. I guess that’s the job of the critic – try to rate on ‘quality’ independent of style, but at the same time communicate personal views. To put it another way, I think a critics job is not to impose their own personal taste on readers, but to let readers know how good they think the wines of, while at the same time communicating the style of the wine clearly enough to give people an idea about whether they’ll like the wine or not. 

As an indication of prices, the top wines (the last four in this list) retail around £25.

Two Hands Riesling 2003 Clare Valley
Very aromatic and full with a lovely limey intensity to the palate. Bold, full and delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100

Two Hands Angel’s Share Shiraz 2002 McLaren Vale
Very rich, dark, ripe and bold with lots of spicy dark fruits. Intense style. Very good/excellent 90/100

Two Hands Brave Faces Shiraz/Grenache 2002 Barossa Valley
Rich, intense and tarry with a bold nose of over-ripe fruit. Soft, ripe, rich juicy palate. Quite oaky and rich. Very good/excellent 90/100

Two Hands Bad Impersonator Shiraz 2002 Barossa Valley
Very dark colour. Soft, sweet, rich nose. Immensely concentrated, rich, soft palate with seamless fruit. A very bold style – unashamedly rich, oaky and sweet. Very good/excellent 91/00

Two Hands Bull & Bear Shiraz/Cabernet 2002 Barossa/McLaren Vale
Sweet, soft nose. The palate is concentrated and sweet with ripe fruit and a spicy, minerally, almost salty edge. Very good/excellent 90/100

Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz 2002 McLaren Vale
Spicy, tarry, almost Port-like sweet fruit on the nose. Nice herby, tarry complexity to the rich, concentrated fruit on the palate. Very bold and rich, but with some character, too. Very good/excellent 91/100

Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz 2002 Barossa Valley
Intense, deeply coloured wine with an appealing soft, spicy Port-like nose. Concentrated and intense ripe fruit on the palate with a minerally, salty edge to the ripe black fruits. Bold and rich: a super-ripe style. Very good/excellent 91/100

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