($18) (14.5% alcohol; an
88/12 blend of shiraz and mourvedre): Bright red-ruby. Aromatic spices and a suggestion of pepper lift the almost liqueur-like aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, licorice and truffle. Lush and seamless, if a bit too sweet and easy for my taste, with rich black raspberry and spice flavors slightly dulled by alcoholic warmth. Finishes with sweet, soft tannins that will not get in the way of early enjoyment. A big mouthful of wine for its price.
($18) (14.7% alcohol; a 77/23 blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz; like The Mischief Maker, this was done in second- and third-fill French oak): Good bright red-ruby. Very
ripe, smoky aromas of currant, graphite, licorice and truffle. Sweet, suave, lush and deep, with just enough acidity to give the middle palate a graceful texture. Finishes with a smooth dusting of tannins and easy drinkability. This is the project of American Mary-Lou Nash, who was born in Maine and taught English in Japan before becoming a garagiste in South Africa. These wines are very reasonably priced.