Australia, WINE

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In recent years, Australia has been one of the wine world's great enigmas. In the 1990s and early 2000s, soaring popularity abroad coupled with a concomitant explosion in vineyard acreage far exceeded even the most optimistic industry forecasts. Much of this production and cultivation was driven by mass-managed, industrial vineyards in the dry southern interior of the country, and although many of the wines were perfectly enjoyable on a basic level, the overriding fruit-driven style soon fell out of favor with average consumers and collectors alike, bad news for a country that relies on exports for at least 60% of its wine sales.

These days, however, there is a renaissance of sorts as many of the country's most talented winemakers are returning home from abroad to focus on increasingly distinctive and stylistically diverse projects in Australia's many small regions along the southeast coast, where a Mediterranean climate predominates. The hot, dry Barossa Valley is by far the most famous and largest of the southern regions, it's reputation predicated mostly on rich, boldly spicy Shiraz, although many parcels of seriously old Grenache vines produce some incredibly intriguing wines when blended with Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvèdre). To its immediate east is the hilly reach of Eden Valley, where the Riesling grape thrives and, as in Clare Valley to the northwest, produces perhaps its best expressions outside of Germany. Southwest of Barossa, along the Adelaide coast, the McLaren Vale boasts some of Australia's oldest vineyards and wineries, some dating back to 1838. Earthy, chocolaty Shiraz prevails here, too, but Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon also perform exceptionally well. Coonawarra is Australia's signature Cabernet Sauvignon region, where the varietal acheives a singularly unique character in the famous strip of iron-rich Terra Rossa soils.

Moving toward the east coast, through the checkerboard of districts in Victoria, including Heathcote, Yarra Valley, and Mornington Peninsula, vineyard cultivation has reached north of Sydney, where in Hunter Valley, among other districts, they produce an utterly unique version of Sémillon and a softer, earthier iteration of Shiraz in the sub-tropical climate. Far, far to the west of the country, seemingly at the ends of the Earth, is Margaret River, the top of the class in Western Australia's roster. Production accounts for very little of Australia's total, but quality rivals that from anywhere else. Like many other westerly wine regions around the globe, Margaret River has a propensity for producing world-class, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon, but the cooling influence of the Indian Ocean also allows for beguiling expressions of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, indeed among Australia's finest white wines.

Popular appeal may have left Australia in its dust over the past decade, but it would be foolhardy to ignore such a large, varied, and utterly charming wine scene for reasons of fashion. There is so much to explore and so much to engage the senses here, that all true wine lovers must make themselves intimately familiar with what's going on Down Under.

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98 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): 90% cabernet sauvignon, 6% merlot and 4% petit verdot. Deep, bright purple-crimson hue; the expressive indeed, perfumed bouquet pointing the way for the elegant medium-bodied palate, where juicy fruit, oak and tannins are fused seamlessly together. An… ...
JH 98
W&S 93
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Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvigon Margaret River 2014  (#702341)

Cabernet/Bordeaux Blends from Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

98 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): 90% cabernet sauvignon, 6% merlot and 4% petit verdot. Deep, bright purple-crimson hue; the expressive indeed, perfumed bouquet pointing the way for the elegant medium-bodied palate, where juicy fruit, oak…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
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$49.95
$65.00
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93 points and 'Best Buy,' Wine & Spirits: Named for one of Penfolds’ Barossa Valley vineyards, this wine includes fruit from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Adelaide and Wrattonbully. After a year in neutral American oak barrels, the wine has matured into a luscious red with layers of detail to… ...
W&S 93
WFW 93
JD 92
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Penfolds Shiraz South Australia Bin 28 Kalimna 2016  (#702133)

Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

93 points and 'Best Buy,' Wine & Spirits: Named for one of Penfolds’ Barossa Valley vineyards, this wine includes fruit from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Adelaide and Wrattonbully. After a year in neutral American oak barrels, the wine has…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
W&S 93
WFW 93
JD 92
96 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): In a word, breathtaking. Yes it's powerful, richly flavoured and full-bodied but the angel is in the detail. Black-crimson-purple same as the fruit notes within flecked with bay leaves, dark chocolate with cinnamon spice. The oak is neatly tucked in, the… ...
JH 96
WA 94
WS 94
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Hickinbotham Shiraz McLaren Vale Brooks Road 2015  (#702339)

Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

96 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): In a word, breathtaking. Yes it's powerful, richly flavoured and full-bodied but the angel is in the detail. Black-crimson-purple same as the fruit notes within flecked with bay leaves, dark chocolate with…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 96
WA 94
WS 94
$59.95
$75.00
Save $15.05 (20%)75.00
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93 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Very slick starting with the dark purple-garnet hue, the black pepper and spice, the cedary buffed oak, touch of bitter walnut, twigs and the black-berried fruit with menthol. The full-bodied palate unfurls to richness, plush tannins and a flourish of sweet… ...
JH 93
V 90
WS 90
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Fowles Shiraz Victoria Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch 2015  (#701937)

Syrah/Shiraz from Victoria, Australia

93 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Very slick starting with the dark purple-garnet hue, the black pepper and spice, the cedary buffed oak, touch of bitter walnut, twigs and the black-berried fruit with menthol. The full-bodied palate unfurls…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available
$29.95
$35.00
Save $5.05 (14%)35.00
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91 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: This 50-50 blend is firm, focused and rich, offering attractive aromas of mint, vanilla, cedar and red-skinned plums. Flavors turn darker, suggesting espresso and chocolate, but enlivened by bright acids. A wine worth holding a few years, priced at … ...
WE 91
JH 90
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D'Arenberg Shiraz-Grenache McLaren Vale d'Arry's Original 2013  (#702300)

Other Red Blends from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

91 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: This 50-50 blend is firm, focused and rich, offering attractive aromas of mint, vanilla, cedar and red-skinned plums. Flavors turn darker, suggesting espresso and chocolate, but enlivened by bright…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$17.95
$20.00
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97 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): From central and southern (the latter warmer) parts of the Adelaide Hills... The colour is bright, the bouquet full of red fruits, darker fruit notes and delicious pepper and spice nuances. These characters flow through to the medium-bodied palate of Shaw +… ...
JH 97
JS 96
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Shaw + Smith Shiraz Adelaide Hills 2015  (#702148)

Syrah/Shiraz from Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

97 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): From central and southern (the latter warmer) parts of the Adelaide Hills... The colour is bright, the bouquet full of red fruits, darker fruit notes and delicious pepper and spice nuances. These characters…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
90 points James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion): A strapping wine indeed, providing a kaleidoscope of red and black fruits with an earthy crown and tannic backbone. Will canter through the next decade or more, protected against any cork god evil. ...
JH 90
WS 89
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Yalumba The Strapper GSM Barossa Valley 2013  (#326880)

Rhone Blends - Red from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

90 points James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion): A strapping wine indeed, providing a kaleidoscope of red and black fruits with an earthy crown and tannic backbone. Will canter through the next decade or more, protected against any cork god evil…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91 points James Suckling: Berry, fresh meat and spice character here with walnuts and even a little salt. Medium body, bright fruit and a fresh finish. Drink now. Screw cap. (7/17/17) ...
JS 91
W&S 91
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Langmeil Grenache Barossa Valley The Fifth Wave 2015  (#701710)

Grenache/Garnacha from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

91 points James Suckling: Berry, fresh meat and spice character here with walnuts and even a little salt. Medium body, bright fruit and a fresh finish. Drink now. Screw cap. (7/17/17)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
$39.95
$53.00
Save $13.05 (25%)53.00
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92 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Scents of wet stone, paraffin and citrus ease into flavors of lemon, melon and tea on the palate. This is light in body and silky in feel, with a long, harmonious finish. Drink it now or age it up to 10 years, maybe even longer. Alcohol 10.5%. (Apr… ...
WE 92
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Silkman Semillon Hunter Valley 2015  (#701474)

Sémillon from Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia

92 points and 'Editors' Choice,' Wine Enthusiast: Scents of wet stone, paraffin and citrus ease into flavors of lemon, melon and tea on the palate. This is light in body and silky in feel, with a long, harmonious finish. Drink it now or age it up to…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$19.95
$24.00
Save $4.05 (17%)24.00
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96 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): Black cherries and black olives mark the nose... It's a blend of older and younger vines from different sites, depending on what the fruit has to offer. Full-bodied, concentrated and firmly structured, it's nevertheless velvety on the long finish, picking up… ...
WA 96
JH 96
JS 94
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D'Arenberg Shiraz McLaren Vale The Dead Arm 2015  (#702299)

Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

96 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): Black cherries and black olives mark the nose... It's a blend of older and younger vines from different sites, depending on what the fruit has to offer. Full-bodied, concentrated and firmly structured, it's…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
WA 96
JH 96
JS 94
$56.95
$65.00
Save $8.05 (12%)65.00
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93 points James Suckling: Aromas of raspberries and red currants with depth and finesse. It has impressive power and it doesn't back away from firmness in the tannin department. Very fresh still. Drink or hold. (8/14/18) ...
JS 93
WA 92
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Yalumba Grenache Barossa The Tri-Centenary 2013  (#702143)

Grenache/Garnacha from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

93 points James Suckling: Aromas of raspberries and red currants with depth and finesse. It has impressive power and it doesn't back away from firmness in the tannin department. Very fresh still. Drink or hold. (8/14/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Under Diam for the first time ever (hoorah!), Jansz Rose retains its gorgeously subtle pale salmon hue. More toasty and biscuity and less perfumed than usual, there are notes of wild strawberries, watermelon and hints of tomato, concluding with cool… ...
JH 91
WE 91
W&S 90
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Jansz Premium Brut Rose Tasmania NV  (#701911)

Non-Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Tasmania, Australia

91 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Under Diam for the first time ever (hoorah!), Jansz Rose retains its gorgeously subtle pale salmon hue. More toasty and biscuity and less perfumed than usual, there are notes of wild strawberries, watermelon…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
JH 91
WE 91
W&S 90
$21.95
$27.00
Save $5.05 (19%)27.00
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