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Steiman on Ares: A Vertical Tasting


In a recent tweet, Michael Twelftree alluded to the ongoing, methodical blind tasting of every barrel of new wine in the winery. This practice is foundational to Two Hands, used to decide which barrels will comprise the Picture Series, the Garden Series and the Flagships, respectively.

Now in a new post on, Editor at Large Harvey Steiman explores this barrel selection system and its implications for Ares, the Flagship Shiraz from Two Hands. Steiman and Twelftree, assissted by┬ásommelier Jill Zimorski at Aspen’s Casa Tua restaurant,┬átasted through all twelve vintages of Ares. It was a first not only for Steiman, but for Twelftree as well.

“I want to see if there is a thumbprint, and how well it ages,” Twelftree said.

Steiman provides answers:

My answer is that yes, there is a thumbprint. And it has aged very well. The first vintage, 2001, was among my favorites, sweet and silky, with animal and earthy overtones to the plum and berry flavors, open and expressive. That plum note stood out as a signature element for me, recurring in most vintages with cherry, sometimes with blackberry or raspberry. In most there was also a presence of mineral flavors as well. Big, but not massive, these wines have an open texture, a sense of elegance and a touch of softness in a muscular package….

Other top vintages of Ares in this tasting earned “classic” ratings from me (as they did on release). The fresh, vibrant 2008 added peppery and feral notes to the fruit and mineral character. The rich, juicy and very long 2007 picked up additional spices on the finish. And the explosively flavorful 2012 (not yet released) was extraordinarily well-balanced for its youth.

See the full post, “Looking back at Two Hands’ Ares,” on

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