The highly innovative Joe Grilli makes his iconic Moda Cabernet Merlot in the Italian Amarone style. After harvest the grapes are air dried on outdoor racks (for around 2 weeks) to increase skin to juice ratio, concentrating the flavours in an almost raisined fashion. The resulting wine is a lusciously rich, ripe dry red which seems to overcome difficult seasons with absolute ease. Just ask popular UK critic Oz Clarke, who recently named Joseph's Moda as the world's second best wine!
In tune with other Moda wines, the 2008 is aromatically deeper than a rabbit's hole. Its typically moreish, ultra-ripe raisin, chocolate and leather aromas have already set themselves in for the long haul, while drier, dusty notes of tobacco and herb straddle the higher tones as an essential counter balance to the smooth richness residing beneath. The palate manages to be extravagantly luscious, smooth and rich without being heavy, jammy or offensively ripe whatsoever. Then considering its generous proportions, it's amazingly balanced and even, saturating the palate from front to back, as lingering touches of tobacco leaf and incredibly polished and smooth, powdery tannins ride like surfboards along its tidal wave of massively deep, dense flavour. It isn't exactly the medium-bodied, elegant cabernet many Australians are looking for, but it's near impossible not to be impressed.
ü+ The 2008 continues a run of consistently delicious Moda wines from up-and-down McLaren Vale cabernet vintages. How does Joe Grilli do it, and why aren't there more imitators? There may be nothing plain about Moda, but it's just plain yum. Drink to 2024.