And if I may be so bold, might I also suggest less attention on Shiraz and all the baggage it carries with it and more focus on things like often devastatingly good dry Riesling, delicious Grenache, and some impressive Cabernets that are instantly recognizable as such. It’s time to recognize Australia as a diverse wine producing country that can’t be pigeon holed. It’s not all ginormous, alcoholic, and dense. Australian wines can also be perfumed, even delicate, and nuanced, a direction more and more consumers seem to be headed in.
If it is power you want and enjoy, there are few wines that can equal a good Australian Shiraz, and I respect that. They are not my thing, but they are appealing to many people and just to reinforce the notion of diversity within Australia there are Shiraz, grand and small, that ring my bell as well. So if you’re not a fan of Australian Shiraz, maybe give a few more a try, but don’t cross Australia off your list just because the media have conflated Australia with Shiraz. There really is so much more to Australia than Shiraz, but if due to nothing more than availability, it’s a great place to start.
What follow focuses on Shiraz, but in an effort to broaden our horizons I’m not only including Shiraz based blends below but want to kick things off with the best of the rest. Four wines that help to illustrate how great Australian wines can be when we move beyond Shiraz.
Quite fruity on the nose with spicy herbal shadings to the core of raspberry and tart strawberry tops aromas all framed with a hint of toasty oak. In the mouth this has the intensity of Grenache which can be be powerful and rich but not weighty, in fact a bit hollow at times like a giant balloon of strawberry fruit which fills your mouth with good acidity and a faint suggestion of sweetness accentuating the fruit. The tannins are soft yet offer some support particularly on the moderately long juicy fruit finish. Fruity like it’s supposed to be. 87pts
Fresh and fruity on the nose with nice red cherry scents ovr hints of green herbs and some floral edged soil tones. In the mouth this is focused and bright with strawberry and red cherry fruit nicely accented with a hint of wood spice and some fresh green herbal tones. The acidity and tannins are well managed leaving this rather smooth and supple in the mouth, with the balance to drive the moderately long, fruity finish. 88pts
People don’t get the brilliance of these dry rieslings because they are so rarely encountered with this sort of age on them. Here we have an example with perfect provenance, winery direct in fact. Smoky on the nose with an almost custardy edge to the core of crabapple that is framed by subtle honey and green tea notes. On entry this remains youthful and bright with huge acids supporting rich apple fruit that is framed with notes of mineral, candied grapefruit peel and vibrant lime leaf flavors. the finish is long and still fruit driven with the rapier acidity offering firm cut through the finale. This is great today and promises to improve for quite a few more years to come. 92pts
Lightly oaky at first on the nose but air brings out lovely spicy, black cherry and black currant fruit that is lyered over lovely dried chili aromas all topped with earthy nuance and a whiff of eucalyptus.In the mouth this is powerful yet, elegant and refined with superb clarity to the fresh black fruits on the palate that yeild to a lovely red fruit and orange peel scented finish. The bright acids and soft, rounded tannins lend this it’s elegance and support the bright fruit flavors through the finish which shows great focus but could be a tad longer. Still a compelling bottle of Cabernet. 93pts