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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96 points James Suckling: A new bottling of the oldest and best parcel on the vineyard. This has a greater sense of depth and fleshy concentration. Steely and stony notes with pure lemon citrus. The palate has excellent texture and pithy concentration. Drink or hold. (8/14/18) ...
JS 96
JH 95
WA 94
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Pewsey Vale Riesling Block 1961 Eden Valley 2017  (#702144)

Riesling from Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia

96 points James Suckling: A new bottling of the oldest and best parcel on the vineyard. This has a greater sense of depth and fleshy concentration. Steely and stony notes with pure lemon citrus. The palate has excellent texture and pithy…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
JS 96
JH 95
WA 94
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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98 points James Suckling: ...Opens with red fruits in the redcurrant and red-cherry zone, showcasing fresh red and purple flowers and some deeper blue-fruit notes... The way in which the malbec entwines itself around cabernet's linear tannins and enriches the wine without fundamentally changing its… ...
JS 98
JH 97
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Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Margaret River 2014  (#702131)

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

98 points James Suckling: ...Opens with red fruits in the redcurrant and red-cherry zone, showcasing fresh red and purple flowers and some deeper blue-fruit notes... The way in which the malbec entwines itself around cabernet's linear tannins and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
95 points James Suckling: A decisive, confidently struck pinot that brims with youthful vibrance and plenty of brambly spicy overlay across ripe red and darker cherry fruits. The palate's succulent, energetic and stacked with punchy cherry-fruit flavors. Tannins drive up through the finish. Screw… ...
JS 95
JH 95
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Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills 2016  (#702147)

Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia

95 points James Suckling: A decisive, confidently struck pinot that brims with youthful vibrance and plenty of brambly spicy overlay across ripe red and darker cherry fruits. The palate's succulent, energetic and stacked with punchy cherry-fruit…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
94+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Made from 100% Grenache, the medium garnet-purple colored 2015 Annexus has a seriously intense perfume of crushed cherries and black raspberries with roses and violets plus suggestions of anise, cinnamon stick and dark chocolate. The rich, powerful,… ...
WA 94
WS 92
WE 92
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John Duval Grenache Barossa Valley Annexus 2015  (#701854)

Grenache/Garnacha from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

94+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Made from 100% Grenache, the medium garnet-purple colored 2015 Annexus has a seriously intense perfume of crushed cherries and black raspberries with roses and violets plus suggestions of anise,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
WA 94
WS 92
WE 92
98 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Pale to medium garnet-purple, the 2015 Les Amis has a disarmingly gorgeous nose of red cherry tart, dried rose petals, cinnamon stick and white pepper with hints of hoisin and forest floor. Full-bodied, soft, curvaceous and generously endowed in the… ...
WA 98
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Torbreck Les Amis Barossa Valley 2015  (#702090)

Grenache/Garnacha from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

98 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Pale to medium garnet-purple, the 2015 Les Amis has a disarmingly gorgeous nose of red cherry tart, dried rose petals, cinnamon stick and white pepper with hints of hoisin and forest floor. Full-bodied,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
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, 3 available
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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
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
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, 12+ available
$29.95
$35.00
Save $5.05 (14%)35.00
Save $5.05 (14%)
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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 98
WA 96
JS 95
$69.95
$89.00
Save $19.05 (21%)89.00
Save $19.05 (21%)
97 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Shiraz Old Bastard has a slowly emerging, complex nose of incense, cloves, star anise, tar, underbrush and earth with a blackberry and blackcurrant core plus a touch of wild thyme. The big, full, opulently fruited… ...
WA 97
JH 95
WS 93
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Kaesler Shiraz Barossa Valley Old Bastard 2013  (#701942)

Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

97 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Shiraz Old Bastard has a slowly emerging, complex nose of incense, cloves, star anise, tar, underbrush and earth with a blackberry and blackcurrant core plus a touch…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
WA 97
JH 95
WS 93
$159.95
$180.00
Save $20.05 (11%)180.00
Save $20.05 (11%)
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