Rules are being thrown out the window today: Rules Schmules with Alpha Box & Dice. To say there are a lot of rules in the wine industry is a massive understatement. Some rules involve strict laws in certain regions limiting producers to growing specific varietals. Other rules could be considered guidelines. Like how long to age wines in your cellar, which isn’t always common knowledge. And if you do happen to know a few basics, there are always ifs, ands or buts to throw even the most educated off their game.

The Winery

Alpha Box & Dice in McLaren Vale, South Australia.
AB&D began in 2008 as a lab for viticultural exploration (aka grape growing renegades). To this day, their intent is to make wine without rules: no tier levels, no varietal restrictions, no aging laws, minimal intervention, all while using vegan friendly winemaking methods. It was simple, they aimed to grow the best possible grapes specific to their climate and vintage conditions. Such rebels!

Alpha Box & Dice, McClaren Vale Australia

Wines A to Z

Their goal was to create identity wines (26 of them) each different in style and personality and represented by a letter of the alphabet. Now in their 11th year, they’ve got 20 letters covered, a good number of which are sold out at the winery. Without rules, they’ve gifted themselves the ability to continuously evolve. As new letters are added, creative blends are born, all while making their existing wines (and porfolio on the whole) stronger every vintage. 

If you attended the Vancouver International Wine Festival this past Winter, you may have spotted their booth and tried some of these already. Currently, 3 of their wines are available in Vancouver. Letters B, D & T.

Blood of Jupiter Sangoivese Cabernet Sauvignon

Alpha Box & Dice Blood of Jupiter Sangoivese Cabernet Sauvignon
91 Points – Decanter

* Available for a Limited Time at BC Liquor Stores.
* Est. Retail $44.99

The Sangiovese is light and fruity. The Cabernet Sauvignon is bold and tannic. They are both equally important in creating this full-bodied and well-rounded wine. The following descriptors are borrowed from their website because its so perfectly written.

LOOKS LIKE: Cranberry with a dash of bourbon.
SOUNDS LIKE: Fleetwood Mac – Seven Wonders
SMELLS LIKE: Cassis and rich earth, sour cherries, cranberries, bourbon and clove spice.
TASTES LIKE: The “Manhattan of wine”, Maraschino cherries, whiskey style oak, complex bitters, chewy cab tannins, black olives.
EAT WITH: Juicy rare steak.

Dead Winemakers Society Dolcetto

91 Points – Decanter
Alpha Box & Dice Dead Winemakers Society Dolcetto

* Available at select private stores (Including Liberty Wine Merchants Commercial Drive)
* Est Retail: $32.99

Winemakers are certainly a unique breed, in all the best possible ways. They’re incredibly intelligent (chemists and farmers rolled into one). They have vision, with the ability to see soil and vine through to wine. And they’re also creative and have deep respect for the land and climate. This 100% Dolcetto pays homage to winemakers across the globe who buck trends and follow their instincts. Again, the following is from the winery’s website.

LOOKS LIKE… A Quentin Tarantino movie
FEELS LIKE… Skinny black jeans
SOUNDS LIKE… PJ Harvey – Down By The Water
SMELLS LIKE… A musty Bible
TASTES LIKE… Bright cherry, savoury spice, dried herbs.
DRINK WITH… Pizza, pasta, pork.
CELLAR FOR… Up to five years.

Tarot Grenache

* Available at private stores (Including Everything Wine)
* Est Retail: $24.99 

I’m not going to lie, this one threw me for a loop. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a strawberry-jello-esque colour (nearly rosé in depth) with brooding earthy aromas and flavours. Like, whoa. Colour me confused. Yet I was intoxicated by its complexity. Definitely worth trying as its a great conversation piece. Again, the following is from the AB&D website. 

LOOKS LIKE… Netflix and chill
FEELS LIKE… A favourite pair of jeans
SOUNDS LIKE… Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
SMELLS LIKE… Toffee apples and Redskins, Strawberries and cream.
TASTES LIKE… Sweet, rich and full-bodied, white pepper, cherry, mulberries, blackforest cake.
CELLAR FOR… Up to 10 years.

Thank you Authentic Wine & Spirits for the sample bottle of Tarot. I can’t wait to see what Alpha Box & Dice brings into the market next!