Hugh Hamilton ‘The Madam’ Sparkling Merlot

15 Mar

Winery: Hugh Hamilton Wines

Region: McLaren Vale

Vintage: NV

Alcohol: 14%


‘The Madam’ certainly looks like an attractive, if not elegant, beast, pouring with a blood red fizz that kept a-buzzing for some time. To the eye, it’s a thick blackcurrant purple. I wasn’t sure what to make of the nose; restrained and breezy, with a bit of mintyness and some indistinct berry fruits.

Appearances are a little bit deceiving – it looked like it’d have a much fuller body, but the mouthfeel was rather flat. Like many a mid-level sparkling red, tart berry preserve is rather ubiquitous. Something jammy, something limey; and sweeter as you persevere, showcasing sweet plum.

I don’t think Hugh makes his sparkling red as a Sparkling Merlot anymore; it appears that he’s moved ‘The Madam’ to be a Sparkling Sangiovese-Tempranillo, which I’m eager to try. However, this release really felt like a “Oh, what are we going to do with all this Merlot that’s laying about?” 2.5/5

Bought from Porter’s Bowgowlah for about $22 | Hugh Hamilton Wines | Lonely Grape



The Toxic Avenger parts II (1989 – IMDB) and III (1989 – IMDB)

In somewhat of a thematic flip from my concluding comments about “what to do with this leftover Merlot?”, Troma’s use of ‘leftovers’ in this series was actually better than it’s intended purpose. Troma founder and director Lloyd Kaufman (whose fervent independence was an inspiration to my teenage-self) shot something like four hours (!) of footage for the sequel to 1984’s head-crushing exploitation classic The Toxic Avenger.

Troma split the sequel into two separate parts: part II is atrocious and lame, but part III manages to be a genuinely funny, campy and light-hearted, albeit gory, film. It’s counter-intuitive to think that ‘the leftovers’ that made part III would be superior in all senses.

As always, there’s caveats to this recommended pairing. Like sparkling reds, Troma films are an acquired taste. You also need to ensure you get the best expressions of the style, and for the Toxic Avenger films you need to get the unrated, uncut director’s cuts of the films as the cinema/VHS releases were mangled by the MPAA.


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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Review


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