Sparky Marquis, owner of MollyDooker Wines (McLaren Vale, Australia-mollydookerwines.com) is living the dream. If that dream includes making exquisite, award-winning wines in one of the most beautiful regions of Australia, being married to your college sweetheart (who is also the mother of two active, smart and funny children) and oh yeah, “employing” your mother as your top ambassador and marketing agent. If that is indeed living the dream, then yes, Sparky Marquis is your proof.
The Blending Begins
Sparky and his mother Janet make frequent trips to the United States to host MollyDooker wine pairing/blending events across the country. It offers them both a chance to come to America, see the country and meet scores of adoring wine aficionados nationwide and talk face to face about their passion: wine.
So it came as no surprise that when Sparky and Janet were hosting an event at the gorgeous Epic Hotel in Miami one Saturday, well, it was a given that the Wanderlushes would must attend. We had a chance to be a part of one of his blending events a few years ago in Fort Lauderdale. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sparky and Janet, while learning all about these incredible wines from the winemaker himself.
Second Round of Tasting
This was a larger event, though, with about 100 guests in attendance. At each table were placemats, along with four “stations” designated for each of the MollyDooker wines to be blended that evening for a personalized version of MollyDooker’s Two Left Feet: The Scooter Merlot, the Maitre D’ Cabernet Sauvignon and the Boxer Shiraz. Each wine is unique and amazing in and of itself. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try these wines, pick one up and enjoy all the subtle nuances and complex flavors a MollyDooker wine imparts. After a brief introduction and speech from Sparky, the blending commenced. The idea of mixing the wines like mad Bacchanalian scientists is to achieve an altogether new and exciting MollyDooker wine. Couples at each table would blend different percentages of each together in beakers and vote on the results. The couple whose wine garnered the most votes at the table would win a prize. So, we ruminated over what would make the best tasting wine and went to work. The other couples we were sitting with blended some solid fruit-forward wines, but in the end our fellow Wanderlushes Jen and Mitch’s blend proved to be the winner. They were each given sporty black MollyDooker baseball caps as the winners!
The Main Course
After the blending, new wines were laid out and the waiters then brought out plates of food; an entrée of chimichurri steak and au gratin potato made with both white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Both were delicious, but the chimichurri sauce overpowered the wine just a bit. Dessert consisted of a delicious chocolate mousse, which each of us devoured (and which paired remarkably well with the wines.) During the evening Sparky gave a very heartfelt and genuinely moving speech, talking about the austere beginnings of MollyDooker wines and how grateful he was to Americans in general for appreciating his wines. One turnoff, however, was when several wine-soaked attendees insisted on talking loudly during Sparky’s speech.
After dessert Sparky brought out the “Party Wines,” which include the Gigglepot Cabernet Sauvignon; the Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz (our favorite); the Enchanted Path Shiraz/Cabernet; Carnival of Love Shiraz and the Velvet Glove Shiraz. With only one bottle per table, we were all quick to pour…