Is Australia Back?

Time to take another look at the wines of Australia

Smoky and a bit simple on the nose with some stemmy notes accenting the core of cracked pepper and sweet cherry fruit. This is smooth and supple and exceptionally easy to drink. There’s enough acidity here to add some zing to the cherry and plum flavors with a hint of earth and toasty oak adding  to the choir. The tannins are pointy if on a modest scale and help to add some heft in the mouth and set up the moderately long blueberry finish quite nicely. Simple, fun and fresh, this is a great party wine. 86pts
Spicy on the nose with notes of black peppery married to spicy oak and resin framed plummy fruit. fairly full on entry and well balanced with some aggressive woody notes early on the palate followed by a mouthful of spicy and slightly jammy blueberry and strawberry fruit. There’s some gentle tannin here and plenty of spiking acidity keeping things fresh and lively in the mouth. The finish is short and shows some dry woody tannins and a hint of sweetness in a slightly clumsy way. A gutsy little wine that is easy to like for it’s plump intensity. 83pts
Shiraz 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon, 37%, Merlot 7%
This smells rather smoky, earthy and herbal and black curranty with hints of mint, vanilla and fennel seed adding some detail. A little sweetish and over-ripe on entry with a pruny, truffly edge to the core of simple if rich black cherry and cassis flavors. Tannins are a touch dry and the acidity well integrated, lending this a somewhat old-world feel but it’s a bit matte on the palate and the finish is dominated by the structure and shows a touch of heat. 82pts
Stemmy, earthy, lightly tarry, and somewhat unusual with noticeable sulphur and some attractive tart red berry fruit on the nose. A bit sweet on entry, with that sweetness adding body and richness that wraps around the modest core of red fruit this wine brings to the table. it’s medium light bodied Shiraz and easy to drink but it’s also short and a little shrill once the sweetness wears off. 79pts

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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 Estate Shiraz Mclaren Vale (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 54

    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 54

    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 4,744

    "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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