2006 Curious Vine Rustom Jee Pughouse Shiraz Grenache

Mission Codename: The Sandbox

Operative: Agent Petite Verdot

Objective: Send junior Operative, Agent Petite Verdot, to Australia, to retrieve an outstanding Aussie wine

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rustom Jee

Wine Subject: 2006 Pughouse Shiraz Grenache Blend

Winemaker: Michael Scholz

Backgrounder: For toady’s mission we send new Wine Spies Operative, Agent Petite Verdot, down under, where she discovers Rustom Jee Winery. Headed by 6th-generation Australian winemaker, Michael Scholz, Rustom Jee makes wines from Estate grapes in Australia’s fables Barossa Valley. While in Australia, Agent Petite Verdot makes an alarming discovery: Rustom Jee’s winemaker is also the head winemaker at St. Supery Winery, a Wine Spies Operative favorite, in Napa!

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – A stunning dark purple, with a foreboding and nearly black core. The wine lightens to a genuine mulberry hue, just at the rim

Smell – This wine has a lot to offer on the nose! Very woody at first pour (a combination of forest floor and toasted cedar) mellowing out after 15 to 20 minutes of being opened. Tart cherry and cinnamon are accentuated with soft sugared cranberry. A touch of leather (yes I know, I am a self professed hater of the descriptor leather, but it exists, and I love the aroma when its authentic) and pepper. After decanting, bold big berry and a light green pepper hint appears towards the end. Then, a strong anise finishes off the nose

Feel – This wine has a liquid Silk mouth feel that gradually becomes more full bodied and smooth as you sip it

Taste – Supple dark fruit leads the way, with blackberry and chicory, tart cherry and licorice. As the wine stretches out, flavors ruby ripe plumb, red currant and a hint of eucalyptus emerge

Finish – The soft tannins in this delicious Aussie red make for a lengthy and very elegant finish

Conclusion – Complex yet easy and even fun to drink, this dynamic wine has a lot to offer. Beautifully structured through and through, this is a great wine to drink all by itself but would pair beautifully with calamari fritti, bacon wrapped pork chops – which is what I paired this wine with – or a nice peppered NY Steak! Any fan of Aussie Shiraz will love this delicious and balanced wine.

Mission Report:


AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

WINEMAKER: Michael Scholz

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

WINEMAKER: I was fortunate enough to grow up on a vineyard right in the middle of Australia’s most renowned wine district. As a kid, I spent all my time in and around the vineyards, whether it be playing in and around the small creek or helping out in the vineyard.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

WINEMAKER: I had a great opportunity to work with Frank Newman who had spent time at the helm of Grange.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

WINEMAKER: Winemaking and grape growing is the only thing that I know, and I reckon it’s a pretty cool thing to do. I want consumers to get a kick out of my wines, but I always work to put a wine in the bottle that I really like myself. After all, the word is that red wine is pretty good for you.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

WINEMAKER: The “PUGHOUSE” Blend is a Shiraz based wine laced with a little Grenache to give it some slight spice and lifted aromas. Grenache having a softer structure, allows us to present a wine that offers Shiraz richness with a slightly more supple finish. The vines that produce this wine are grown on my family’s 6th Generation Estate in the Barossa.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

WINEMAKER: In Australia we would pair it with a rack of lamb and maybe some potato gratin. However I think it is excellent with a char-grilled BBQ steak.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Barossa Valley so special?

WINEMAKER: The Barossa has proven to be a magic place to grow Shiraz. We also see excellent Grenache being produced. That is of course the essence of this blend. I guess the opportunity is due to the good sunshine and cool night time breezes, along with the shallow soils, for an excellent combination that allows us to grow vines to produce such great colour, structure and flavour.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

WINEMAKER: There is a new vintage gearing up right now, which makes for lots of work in an effort to produce another terrific season of wines.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

WINEMAKER: These are structured wines that are dense, flavourful and enjoyable.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

WINEMAKER: My Great Great Great Grandfather had the strength, courage and vision to settle this property. He was the first to settle this land, and it has not ever changed hands, remaining in the SCHOLZ family today. I am fortunate to be the 6th Generation on this old property and wish to present wines with an essence of this estate in the Barossa Valley.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Borassa Valley, in Australia, can be seen in this satellite photo.

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