Is Australia Back?

Time to take another look at the wines of Australia

Big and powerful with wonderful fresh fruit aromas set against a backdrop of lightly spicy and used oak. On the palate this is both chewy and fresh with acids that seem a bit high all things considered. There’s lovely balance and purity to the black currant fruit on the palate which shows a little minty quality on the back end. The finish is nicely dry, rather muscular and once again both chewy and refreshing, though the wine is showing it’s age with a bit of a lack of freshness as far as the fruit is concerned. 91pts
Very floral and licorice scented when first poured from the bottle, this gains a low  base of plummy fruit, lots of cracked pepper character and some lovely herbal suggestions all wrapped in a vanilla gauze. rather lighter on the palate than expected here, one finds lots of slightly tart red raspberry and cherry fruits supported by gently ripe tannins and solid acidity. There’s attractive tension in the mouth with good clarity to the fruit and fine structural detail though this is a bit on the simple side. Things get a bit more interesting on the backend and through the finish where the herbal accents of the nose become more apparent and contribute some additional complexity and the finish is quite long with very fine tart cherry and strawberry top fruits. Not a wine that’s going to really grab your attention but one you’ll be very happy drinking for the rest of the evening.  The term well behaved springs to mind. 90pts
70% shiraz, 18% cabernet sauvignon and 12% merlot grown in the Barossa (Eden Valley and Barossa Valley).
Jammy and oaky on the nose with lots of vanilla, toasted spice, tree bark and cedar aromas layered over the slightly cooked black fruit which has a bit of an oily aromatic quality. Bright in the mouth with some early stiff tannins and a bit of vanilla upfront on the rich but  not too weighty palate. There’s a lovely raspy edge to the blackberry fruit flecked with minerals and  juicy through the long finish. This is very polished but noticeable tannins do remain along with a whisper of heat. 90pts
herbal, finely focused and quite perfumed on the nose with tarry, dark candied fruit and jammy blackberry notes rising from the glass. This is rich and powerful in the mouth but very well balanced. An initial rush of pomegranate and mulberry fruit is followed by some sweetly toasted oak notes all supported by the rather well balanced acid and tannin structure. This is obviously rather fruit driven and one misses the tannins, which are well integrated but a touch dry, on the first go round. Broad shouldered and a little chunky in the mouth, this has plenty of power and even some attractive plum and violet inner mouth perfumes but lacks some nuance. 89pts
Jammy black fruit on the nose is joined by rather intense black pepper, leather, wood spice,  and game aromas making this both complex and rather wild. In the mouth it is rich, powerful, and balanced with some obvious oak tannins making their presence known even through the masses of concentrated fruit. The fruit shows a very nice spicy red and black profile with a bit of iron and some spice notes adding accents, particularly on the moderately long finish. This is a large scale wine and the balance is a bit on the rustic side. 89pts
Deep and jammy on the nose with streaks of chocolate, toast, white pepper,  fine herbs and earth running through the core of plum, dried cherry and strawberry fruit. Opulent and lush on entry, there’s an early flush of strawberry fruit here followed by rich, chocolaty plum and cherry notes. This is a polished and plush wine, a bit ponderous in some ways as it’s not terribly well focused but it has the size and softness that appeals to many people. The backpalate is all chocolate covered strawberries before the sweet toasty oak spice kicks on the moderately long and slightly drying finish. This reminds me a bit of a Grenache on steroids. 88pts

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Top Australian Shiraz tasted 10/13

Yalumba Shiraz Barossa Valley the Octavius (2006)
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Giaconda Shiraz Estate Vineyard (2010)
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Greenock Creek Alices Shiraz Australia (2011)
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Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz (2009)
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Yangarra Shiraz Estate Mclaren (2010)
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Yalumba Signature 05 Australia Barossa Valley Cabernet & Blends (2008)
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Langmeil Shiraz Orphan Bank (2010)
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Jim Barry the Lodge Hill Shiraz Clare Valley (2011)
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Henschke Keyneton Euphonium Eden Valley (2010)
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Langmeil 'Valley Floor' Shiraz (2010)
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Wirra Wirra Shiraz Catapult (2010)
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Shingleback Shiraz the Davey Estate (2011)
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Wirra Wirra Church Block Mclaren Vale (2010)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: cucreek
    1324710 22

    Descriptors like "ripe, jammy, lush, rich" (to name but a few), this only convinces me that the basic problems with the Australian craze have not been addressed. These reviews suggest they are still overripe, overly alcoholic, not age worthy and not worth the $$ many still ask. In addition to the loss of distinction between expensive and inexpensive (why pay $100 for an overly-extracted wine when you can get one for $20), it was the RP effect--huge scores for wines which, after a short time in cellars (including mine), were finished. Too ripe, too hot and not balanced to drink, let alone age.

    Oct 15, 2013 at 6:20 PM

  • Snooth User: gerrad
    79282 57

    can i point out that all but one wine in your list (i think) is from barossa/eden valley! if you want more restrained less jammy wines-buy from cooler climate producers! try, margaret river (earthy and med body, maybe some mint), great southern (dark, brooding savoury fruit), tasmania (try glaetzer-dixon) and victoria (espec. grampians, alpine valley, beechworth regions). in the same way as many of the best wines of france or usa never make it here- same goes here. look into; plantagenet, leeuwin estate, castle rock est., frankland estate, forest hill, faber, xanadu etc. and theyre just some of the gems from the west coast. ok, ul have trouble getting many of them, but have u looked? good drinking.

    Oct 16, 2013 at 6:27 AM

  • Snooth User: gerrad
    79282 57

    cu creek, could you name any of the producers and vintages to which you refer..and how many of them DONT come from barossa valley? i agree with your general sentiment in respect to wines from that region..otherwise no! (see my comment above)

    Oct 16, 2013 at 6:28 AM

  • Snooth User: Pagarsi
    1264679 15

    At first glance there are as many wines from Mcclarenvale as anywhere. Shingleback are also Mcclarenvale, Their best shiraz is The Gate and D block. I agree with you about Grampions, very under-rated particularly Langi Ghirran.

    Oct 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

  • Snooth User: cucreek
    1324710 22

    First, I have enjoyed this exchange. Unlike many website comment sections, this is civil, pleasant and informative. Just people interested in the subjects at hand. I will stipulate areas other than Barossa (and sometimes McClaren Vale) can make very different wines. I was responding to the wines in this report, since that is what was presented. And this article highlights the problem: by the choice of wines, it reinforces the perceptions, and the wines most often encountered. Cheers to all.

    Oct 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,663

    "Unlike many website comment sections, this is civil, pleasant and informative."

    I think you will find that attitude pervades throughout the Snooth site.

    I have sat outside this conversation and have learned a lot. I would like to thank the contributors.

    Oct 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

  • Snooth User: Pagarsi
    1264679 15

    There are many, many mid-tier restaurants in Australia which still allow (encourage ?)people to bring their own wine. I took a bottle of shiraz with me to an Afghannee reataurant last night. (Charging a corkage fee of $10 to $30 per bottle,)In contrast to most of the Western world. The upshot of this is 95% of all wine bought in Australia is drunk the day it is bought, the vast majority within two hours of being bought. (I have three clients in the wine industry, I know more about the wine industry than I do about wine.) This seems a fairly insignificant point but in practice it is a great influence on the market. The emphasis is to produce wines drunk straight from the shelf and not for collectors to put down for a number of years.

    We have the richest 2 year old horse race in the world, it could be argued that culturally we don't have a lot of patience and we want to get on with things straight away.

    Oct 16, 2013 at 9:15 PM

  • I think some of you guys had better spend some dosh and get acquainted with phase 2 of wines and their diversity in Australia. You are only replicating old Bob P stereotypes . I travel the world and the mid tier and above wines of the country are sensational. And there are terroirs of great substance ( and e,enhance ) in each quality region including Barossa and Eden Valleys. In any case good wine is good wine beyond stigmatization.

    Oct 27, 2013 at 6:12 AM

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