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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95 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Estate-grown, 50% whole berries, 25% whole bunches... wild yeast, matured in French oak (25% new) for 13 months. Everything falls into place, the design of the jigsaw puzzle taking shape post haste. McLaren Vale fruit essence, with black fruits and potent… ...
JH 95
JS 93
DE 92
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Yangarra Shiraz McLaren Vale 2014  (#701929)

Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia

[ 95 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Estate-grown, 50% whole berries, 25% whole bunches... wild yeast, matured in French oak (25% new) for 13 months. Everything falls into place, the design of the jigsaw puzzle taking shape post haste. McLaren Vale fruit essence, with black fruits and potent dark chocolate looking as much to the sky as the earth, the whole bunch elements adding a twist to the main design, eloquent tannins also making a significant contribution. Drink By: 2034. Alcohol 14%. (2/29/16) ] 95 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Estate-grown, 50% whole berries, 25% whole bunches... wild yeast, matured in French oak (25% new) for 13 months. Everything falls into place, the design of the jigsaw puzzle taking shape post haste. McLaren…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 95
JS 93
DE 92
$21.95
$25.00
Save $3.05 (12%)25.00
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92 points Robert Parker: The 1994 Command Shiraz is possesses slightly high alcohol (14.5%). It possesses massive fruit extraction, tons of new American oak, low acidity, and layers of chewy, glycerin-imbued, concentrated fruit. It should drink well for another decade. I suspect This wine will… ...
RP 92
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Elderton Shiraz Barossa Command 1994  (#310777)

Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

[ 92 points Robert Parker: The 1994 Command Shiraz is possesses slightly high alcohol (14.5%). It possesses massive fruit extraction, tons of new American oak, low acidity, and layers of chewy, glycerin-imbued, concentrated fruit. It should drink well for another decade. I suspect This wine will become more civilized and less exuberant with bottle age. Elderton's wines are not for tasters seeking subtlety and elegance. This is an outrageously oaky, flamboyantly-styled offering with immense hedonistic appeal. (Apr 1999) ] 92 points Robert Parker: The 1994 Command Shiraz is possesses slightly high alcohol (14.5%). It possesses massive fruit extraction, tons of new American oak, low acidity, and layers of chewy, glycerin-imbued, concentrated fruit. It should drink well…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 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. ] 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
89 points Wine Spectator: Cedary up front, with an appealing layer of smoke and spice to the bright, supple and ripe cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. Notes of tobacco and clove gain presence on the finish. Drink now. 4,500 cases made. (3/31/16) ...
WS 89
WE 89
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Three Rings Shiraz Barossa Valley 2014  (#327303)

Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

[ 89 points Wine Spectator: Cedary up front, with an appealing layer of smoke and spice to the bright, supple and ripe cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. Notes of tobacco and clove gain presence on the finish. Drink now. 4,500 cases made. (3/31/16) ] 89 points Wine Spectator: Cedary up front, with an appealing layer of smoke and spice to the bright, supple and ripe cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. Notes of tobacco and clove gain presence on the finish. Drink now. 4,500 cases made. (3/31/16)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$14.95
$20.00
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96 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Destemmed, crushed, matured for 12 months in French oak (40% new). The unadorned purity of this cabernet follows precisely in the footsteps of its predecessors. It is unlike most other Margaret River cabernets, a red brother to the Art Series Chardonnay,… ...
JH 96
JS 96
DE 94
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Leeuwin Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Art Series 2013  (#702062)

[ 96 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Destemmed, crushed, matured for 12 months in French oak (40% new). The unadorned purity of this cabernet follows precisely in the footsteps of its predecessors. It is unlike most other Margaret River cabernets, a red brother to the Art Series Chardonnay, even if not quite as magical as that wine. The '13 regional vintage was highly rated at the time, a rating justified today. Alcohol 13.5%. Drink By: 2038. Date Tasted: 21 Feb 2017. (Aug 2017) ] 96 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Destemmed, crushed, matured for 12 months in French oak (40% new). The unadorned purity of this cabernet follows precisely in the footsteps of its predecessors. It is unlike most other Margaret River…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 96
JS 96
DE 94
$44.95
$60.00
Save $15.05 (25%)60.00
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95 points James Halliday: Released each year on 27 Feb, the birth date of Kim Longbottom's late husband, the wine always his favourite... It is full-bodied, but equally full of vitality, black fruits, red fruits, spice, oak and tannins all contributing to the long, very well balanced, palate. It is… ...
JH 95
WA 91
V 91
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Henry's Drive Shiraz Padthaway Magnus 2010  (#701999)

Syrah/Shiraz from Padthaway, South Australia, Australia

[ 95 points James Halliday: Released each year on 27 Feb, the birth date of Kim Longbottom's late husband, the wine always his favourite... It is full-bodied, but equally full of vitality, black fruits, red fruits, spice, oak and tannins all contributing to the long, very well balanced, palate. It is still very youthful, and will give pleasure for decades to come. I should add that it carries its alcohol with ease. Tasted: 25 Mar 2014. Alcohol 15%. Drink By: 2040. (7/26/14) ] 95 points James Halliday: Released each year on 27 Feb, the birth date of Kim Longbottom's late husband, the wine always his favourite... It is full-bodied, but equally full of vitality, black fruits, red fruits, spice, oak and tannins all…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$59.95
$80.00
Save $20.05 (25%)80.00
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91+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium to deep garnet-purple, the 2012 Shay s Flat Vineyard Pyrenees Shiraz opens with a slight whiff of reduction over a core of red and black currants, loam, sage and Szechuan pepper. Tight, muscular and with a just a tad too much extraction… ...
WA 91
WS 91
WE 90
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Tournon (Chapoutier) Shiraz Victoria Shays Flat Vineyard 2012  (#701533)

Syrah/Shiraz from Victoria, Australia

[ 91+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium to deep garnet-purple, the 2012 Shay s Flat Vineyard Pyrenees Shiraz opens with a slight whiff of reduction over a core of red and black currants, loam, sage and Szechuan pepper. Tight, muscular and with a just a tad too much extraction detracting from its savory appeal ever so slightly, it finishes long and earthy. Drink: 2015-2022. (Feb 2015) ] 91+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium to deep garnet-purple, the 2012 Shay s Flat Vineyard Pyrenees Shiraz opens with a slight whiff of reduction over a core of red and black currants, loam, sage and Szechuan pepper. Tight, muscular…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
WA 91
WS 91
WE 90
90 points Wine & Spirits: If you like delicate pinot noir, check out this light, savory red. It has scents of raspberry jam and tight, lithe flavors with a strawberry and raspberry raspiness. For brook trout roasted with herbs. (Oct 2016) ...
W&S 90
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Fowles Pinot Noir Victoria Farm to Table 2015  (#332316)

Pinot Noir from Victoria, Australia

[ 90 points Wine & Spirits: If you like delicate pinot noir, check out this light, savory red. It has scents of raspberry jam and tight, lithe flavors with a strawberry and raspberry raspiness. For brook trout roasted with herbs. (Oct 2016) ] 90 points Wine & Spirits: If you like delicate pinot noir, check out this light, savory red. It has scents of raspberry jam and tight, lithe flavors with a strawberry and raspberry raspiness. For brook trout roasted with herbs. (Oct 2016)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
93 points James Suckling: Another skilled execution of edgy, modern Australian chardonnay from the cool climate of Tumbarumba, this has a heap of powerful fruit in the lime and nectarine spectrum, boosted by some lees-derived creamy and savoury notes, delivering biscuity complexity. Flavors are all… ...
JS 93
WA 91
V 91
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Penfolds Chardonnay Bin 311 Tumbarumba 2014  (#701693)

Chardonnay from New South Wales, Australia

[ 93 points James Suckling: Another skilled execution of edgy, modern Australian chardonnay from the cool climate of Tumbarumba, this has a heap of powerful fruit in the lime and nectarine spectrum, boosted by some lees-derived creamy and savoury notes, delivering biscuity complexity. Flavors are all nicely integrated, stony and smooth, beautifully balanced. Drink now. (1/27/16) ] 93 points James Suckling: Another skilled execution of edgy, modern Australian chardonnay from the cool climate of Tumbarumba, this has a heap of powerful fruit in the lime and nectarine spectrum, boosted by some lees-derived creamy and savoury notes…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
$34.95
$40.00
Save $5.05 (13%)40.00
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93 points James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion): Full crimson-purple; the back label proclaims that the Lodge Hill Vineyard is the highest in the Clare Valley at 440m (it isn't), and the wine has cool-grown nuances in its bloodstream; jet black fruits have rivulets of licorice, pepper and spice… ...
JH 93
WA 90
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Jim Barry Shiraz Clare Valley The Lodge Hill 2013  (#325024)

Syrah/Shiraz from Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia

[ 93 points James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion): Full crimson-purple; the back label proclaims that the Lodge Hill Vineyard is the highest in the Clare Valley at 440m (it isn't), and the wine has cool-grown nuances in its bloodstream; jet black fruits have rivulets of licorice, pepper and spice with banks of fine, savoury tannins. Alcohol 14.5%. (7/27/15) ] 93 points James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion): Full crimson-purple; the back label proclaims that the Lodge Hill Vineyard is the highest in the Clare Valley at 440m (it isn't), and the wine has cool-grown nuances in its bloodstream; jet black…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
$16.95
$19.00
Save $2.05 (11%)19.00
Save $2.05 (11%)
98 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Part hand, part machine-picked, part wild and part cultured yeast, matured for 11 months in new French oak. Incredibly youthful quartz-green colour; a great chardonnay, its intensity and length right up there with the best prior vintages; white peach and… ...
JH 98
WA 96
JS 95
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Leeuwin Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series 2014  (#701914)

[ 98 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Part hand, part machine-picked, part wild and part cultured yeast, matured for 11 months in new French oak. Incredibly youthful quartz-green colour; a great chardonnay, its intensity and length right up there with the best prior vintages; white peach and nectarine open the batting, pink grapefruit coming swiftly thereafter, creamy/nutty oak almost lost in the crowd. If this weren't enough, the aftertaste is a work of art, complete in itself. Drink by: 2029. Alcohol 13.5%. (2/21/17) ] 98 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Part hand, part machine-picked, part wild and part cultured yeast, matured for 11 months in new French oak. Incredibly youthful quartz-green colour; a great chardonnay, its intensity and length right up…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 98
WA 96
JS 95
$74.95
$89.00
Save $14.05 (16%)89.00
Save $14.05 (16%)
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 10 years, maybe even longer. Alcohol 10.5%. (Apr 2017) ] 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
Save $4.05 (17%)
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