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Wine Review: Bellingham Dragon’s Lair 2005 ($20)

Bellingham Dragon’s Lair 2005 ($20)

14.5 percent alcohol
Blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Vionier
Aged for 18 months in the barrel

This South African wine crafted near the mountains in the valley of Franschoek, where the legend of St. George and the dragon was born. In a gimmicky bit of marketing, the producer says Dragon’s Lair captures the mystery and enchantment of the famous era. I hate wines that stick cute animals on their labels (hello, Yellow Tail), but I’m always game for a good story behind a wine that gives it a sense of place. If a local legend inspired Bellingham to make a good wine, all the power to them.

Dragon’s Lair is a blend of 88 percent Shiraz, 10 percent Mourvedre and 2 percent Viongier. Tasting this wine, I had the distinct impression that the winemaker took considerable care to come up with the perfect mix of grape varieties. The nose is concentrated and complex, but not too harsh. I get some wild blueberries and chocolate on the palette. It has a surprisingly acidic zing to it, with some quite a bit of red grapefruit, which is in very interesting for a Shiraz-dominated wine. Despite its threatening-sounding name, Dragon’s Lair is very approachable.

Quaffability Rating 88

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“Wine Review: Bellingham Dragon’s Lair 2005 ($20)”