Is Australia Back?

Time to take another look at the wines of Australia

Dark with Dried cherry and plummy fruits on the nose this has a bit of a caramel, coffee and vanilla cast to it with hints of earth and pepper playing supporting roles. Lighter on the palate than the nose suggests with plenty of fresh red berry fruit here, a touch tart and with some dry tannins adding to the slightly austere structural impression one gets here. The finish is attractive in it’s austerity, a fine counterpoint to the fruit of the palate. Not terribly complex yet appealing for it’s fruit and lovely structure this does show a bit of refinement in the mouth. 88pts
Shiraz 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32%, Merlot 18%
Darkly oily and cedary on the nose with the penetrating perfumes of a spice shop. There are some fascinating things going on on the nose which offer a complex layering of spice, herb, dried berry fruit and wood spice aromas. On entry this is round, friendly and almost lush with fine acidity and stiff if small tannins offering excellent support. the fruit is a bit chunky, recalling ripe strawberries, cherry and plum in the mouth framed with rather cedary and sweetly vanilla driven oak notes. The wood tannins really make themselves known on the finish which is dry and splintery, detracting from a rather attractive wine. The aromatics here are the highpoint, though the fruit in the mouth is pleasantly rich and chunky. 88pts
69% shiraz, 20% grenache, 6% mourvèdre and 5% viognier and grapes grown in the Barossa (Eden Valley and Barossa Valley).
Spicy and super floral on the nose which is filled with strawberry and  astringent red berry fruit. This really has lovely fun aromatics. In the mouth one finds a medium light bodied, fresh, fruity, strawberry fruited wine with mineral inflections and  nice cut on the palate with some soft loose tannins in the mouth. Lively with great purity of fruit, there’s a little bit of heat on the finish which is long and brushy and very strawberry with a little cream. Light and easy and an interesting take on the blend. 88pts
Very ripe, matte and moderately oaky on the nose which picks up nuanced red floral, white pepper, herb stem, and, melted licorice notes with air. In the mouth this is smooth and tart, with a big base of wood tannins supporting sour cherry and plum fruit that is  simple and direct. The tannins are unobtrusive and the acidity becomes a bit more pronounced on the modest finish. Lots of wine,and with beautiful aromatics but the fruit doesn’t show much complexity on the palate. 88pts
Shiraz, 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Petit Verdot 5%
At first dominated by herbaceous and curranty cabernet on the nose this quickly shows some Shriaz spice and a sheen of toasty vanilla laden oak on the rather robust nose.  Smooth and bright on entry, you feel the oak, nutty and toasty, early on the palate then the wine gains a bit of definition with blueberry and plum fruit on the midpalate and a fine vein of something vaguely violet driven and peppery on the back end, almost a little arugula like. The finish is a touch dusty and fairly long with more of a plummy and spicy Shiraz character. This marries the two varieties well, creating nice synergies of texture and layering of flavors. It turns out feeling a bit like a Petite Sirah rich Zin in some ways. 87pts
Smoky and a bit tight on the nose with blueberry tinged fruit that is also quite floral and spicy and frankly aromatic. This makes for easy drinking  with it’s medium body and fresh blue fruits. There’s some freshening acid here and modest little tannins but this is firmly about fresh fruit and easy drinking with refreshingly clear fruit and a nice subtle spice note that picks up on the backend and adds complexity to the modest finish. 87pts

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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 5,662

    "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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