Wine Buzz: Wines marketed by AC/DC run a little short on spark

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4D

"Wine Buzz" focused on screw caps a couple of weeks back, mentioning a UC Davis study that's analyzing their effectiveness, along with referencing a recent line of screw cap wines from the band AC/DC.

These two wines, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon, both hail from Australia – AC/DC's native land – where screw caps are fairly common in the wine industry. Napa's PlumpJack Winery, whose parent company teamed with UC Davis on the study, even uses screw caps on some of its high-end bottlings.

Back to the AC/DC wine: How does it taste, anyway?

While some rock stars take a very hands-on approach to their wine, such as Tool singer Maynard James Keenan, who oversees some of his own vineyards, many of these celebrity wines aren't much more than a merchandising gimmick. For most bands or singers, creating their own wine means slapping their likeness on a bottle and calling it a day.

That's pretty much the case for these AC/DC wines, which are made by Warburn Estate in Australia and retail for $17.99. The bottles take their names from various AC/DC albums, including "Highway to Hell" cabernet sauvignon and "Thunderstruck" chardonnay, and reference the band's album covers.

We twisted the screw cap and took a taste.

For all the song's power riffs and fist-pumping choruses, the "Thunderstruck" chardonnay was actually pretty light – more like smooth jazz than hard rockin'. The color was as gold as a commemorative record, and showed a fairly fruity nose, but the body was lean like Angus Young's legs. This is a cool- climate chardonnay from the Hilltops region of New South Wales, resulting in a fairly crisp wine with pronounced citrus flavors. It's not a bad wine to sip during a warm summer evening.

The "Highway to Hell" cabernet poured with a deep purple color, with grapes sourced from the Coonawarra wine region of south Australia. The taste was a bit one-dimensional, sweet and oaky with a dominant black cherry flavor. It's an OK table wine that'll hold up fine with a steak, or whatever red meat dish you might serve before popping in the DVD to "Let There Be Rock."

In the end, the wines were OK; nothing that'll rock your socks off. But, if you need a gift for your resident AC/DC fan, you know where to turn.

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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