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Snooth User: Terence Pang

What Australian wines are in your stores/cellars?

Original post by Terence Pang, May 30, 2012.

Dear Snoothers, I was having a thought while adding more tasting notes, and realised it is not much good if the good proportion of wines that I describe were from small producers who do not export to the USA where the majority of members here are located.

Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it if you could list the Australian labels that appear on the shelves of your wine stores, or ones which you might be most interested in. This would be highly informative for me because it would reveal whether there is a generalised 'style' of wines that is being exported to your area. Of course, this wouldn't prevent me from writing about the wineries which I think would be of great interest to snooth members which I'd encourage you to seek out on your travels.

I was also reminded of our opposite seasons with the article on Sauvignon Blanc appearing on the main page! That seems the most unlikely wine to be opening on a gloomy 10C day in Melbourne.


Edit: I thought I'd start a list of the labels which have had multiple mentions. Interesting cluster in terms of the state of origin. Huge bias towards SA wines.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Penfold's, Peter Lehmann, Jacobs Creek, Mitolo, Mollydooker, Fox Creek, Henry's Drive, John Duval, Kaesaler, Two Hands, Rolf Binder, Yalumba, Glaetzer (Ben)

Rosemount Estate (Hunter Valley, New South Wales & McLaren Vale, South Australia)

NEW SOUTH WALES: Yellowtail (Riverina)




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Reply by zinfandel1, Jun 6, 2012.

Although they may be hard to find, almost anything from the Margaret River area which is located in South Western Australia. If you like whites, then try a Chardonnay from this area. They redefine this grape in a positive way.

Reds and Whites are of the highest quality. I think it is all about location. Margaret River gets the sea breeze from both the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 6, 2012.

Zin1, the Margaret River isn't influenced directly by the Pacific Ocean but by the Indian (to the west) and Southern (to the South) oceans wind currents.

And just an opinion of the Chardonnays from this region - dramatically over-priced. More competitively priced wines of just as high quality can be found from Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.

Reply by superab, Jun 6, 2012.

I agree with your opinions od Margaret River Chardonnay. They are good quality but there are other Chardonnay's from other parts of Aus that are the same quality and much less the price. Tassie and Mornington Peninsula are my favourites along with Mt Macedon (Curly Flat in particular). However the Cab Sauv from Margaregt Rivers are amazing and well worth the price.

While this is not a definitive list and there are certainly brilliant wines to be good outside of these regions, the following regions are what I use to buy Australian wine in general

  • Chardonnay: Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania, Mt Macedon (likely to not find many of these in the USA as its a small winer region with only boutique wineries)
  • Riesling: Eden Valley, Clare Valley
  • Cab Sauv: Margaret River, Coonawarra
  • Shiraz: Big in your face style: Barossa, McClaren Vale, Coonawarra
  • Shiraz: Elegant, more refined style: Grampians, Pyrenees, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Heathcote
  • Pinot Noir: Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley
Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 6, 2012.

Since we're on Chardonnay, can't get away without mentioning Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate, both made by Sandro Mosele. If you like Mt Macedon (it's AUD$12), bets on you loving Kooyong! Sandro also makes a Ballewindi Chardonnay exclusively for Vintage Cellars for AUD$27. It's not one that I've tried before, but might be worth a punt compared to the $60 single vineyard Kooyongs, $42 for the Kooyong Estate label and $30 for the Port Phillip Estate label.

Also, Giaconda from the Beechworth region in North-east Victoria is quite a big deal locally too. I love the layered structure of Rick Kinzbrunner's wines, most striking feature being their expressive aromatic profiles.

Reply by superab, Jun 6, 2012.

Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate are indeed amazing wines - though a tad pricey. Speaking of Sandro Mosele he's also the winemaker at Scorpo. If you havent tried Scorpo I highly recommend them. Sandro is also involved in the Greenstone project out of Heathcote and their wines are getting lots of attention of late. Something to keep an eye on

Reply by Mary Margaret McCamic, Jun 9, 2012.

Glad to see a post/interest about this. I'm in NC, and you see a lot of Mollydooker on the shelves when available. Penfold's Grange is also on shelves here, along with the range from Torbreck, some from Kaesler, Pike's, Peter Lehman, Two Hand's, Rolf Binder, Henry's Drive, and some Cape Mentelle. There's also a little bit of S.C. Pannell, which I'm very happy about. While there are definitely some selections, it does seem like Australian wine is wildly misunderstood by many consumers. 

I was recently in Australia on a trip led by the Wine Australia team, and got to travel from Sydney to Perth. My eyes were opened - there's so much phenomenal wine being produced that the USA isn't really seeing. I'd love to see more interest in Hunter Valley Semillon, Clare Valley Riesling, and the like. There are those unaware that Australia even makes white wine, which is unfortunate.

Some of my favorite producers in Australia were: Brokenwood, Jeff Grosset, S.C. Pannell, Cullen, Coriole, Moss Wood, and Eldridge. The list could go on. Overall, the experience was fantastic, and the Australian winemakers I met were humble, accomodating, and wiling to share their love of wine with us. It left a lasting impression on me, and I'm so happy to have had the experience. Terence, I agree with you about the wines from Sandro Mosele - I got to meet him while in Mornington Peninsula and hear his thoughts on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Australian wine in the USA. Very insightful, on top of making tasty wine.

Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 9, 2012.

Ack! I'm partially regretting not trying the 2010 Mollydooker The Boxer and Sandro Mosele's Heathcote Shiraz venture that was offered to me yesterday. At least I'd have been able to have an insight on those wines to share. Shall have to make yet another trip to the winestore now, not that I'd complain about that!

Instead, I picked up a couple of Margaret River red wines.

Voyager Estate Girt By Sea Cabernet Merlot (2010): AUD$20. Intense ruby colour, with an expressive nose of pencil shavings, blackcurrants, milk chocolate with dark berries and a faint touch of eucalypt. A dry, med+ bodied wine with moderate tannins that are slightly sappy. High level of cleansing acidity, 13.8% alc. Matured in a mix of American and French oak barrels. Flavours of blackcurrants, savoury plums, hint of grassy dried herbs. A nice drink from start to finish. Drink now – 2015. Had this with Irish lamb stew, yum!

Flametree Embers Cabernet Sauvignon (2010): AUD$18. Intense black ruby colour , expressive aromas of tobacco leaf, mulberry, blackcurrant and cedar. A dry, med+ bodied wine with fine grained tannins and moderate acidity. Blackcurrant and mulberry flavours dominant with residual cigar taste. 14.2% alc. Not a bad wine, though the acidity could have done with a notch up, and it lacks a bit more weight on the finish to match the initial hit. Drink now – 2014. Worked well with a cajun-spiced ocra and pork mince stir-fry. Flametree also has an Embers Shiraz which I have yet to try.

Mary, nice to hear you have access to Stephen Pannell's wines. I think he does a good job making high quality alternative varietal wines in McLaren Vale. And I'd be happy to drink David Powell's wines (Torbreck) on any day, except maybe his dessert wine.

Reply by spikedc, Jun 10, 2012.

Looking through my wines I have quite a few Australian bottles reds and whites mainly Penfold's, Yalumba, Cape Mentelle, Jim Barry, Peter Lehmann, Kangarilla road, Majella.

Yalumba probably being my favourites especially the Scribbler, Signature and the impressive Octavius. these have mainly been on the advice of the absent Stephen Harvey .

Aussie wines are widely available here in the UK and from what Ive tasted they have been mostly pretty good although Spanish still remains my number One.


Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 10, 2012.

I think I'm seeing a trend in the labels that have been shared in this thread. Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Yalumba, Kaesler, Mitolo, Mollydooker (hasn't been mentioned yet, but what about Ben Glaetzer's Amon Ra inc?). Big wines, generally high alcohol %, plenty of oak. Wines that don't get much attention in the local circles, but are prominent in the advertising material. Is this a reflection of Wine Australia catering to corporations with the biggest buck bucket who can afford such publicity, and a failing to market the smaller wineries? Hopefully some changes will be noticed with their recent announcement of a change in marketing strategy.

SC Panell, Torbreck, Sandro Mosele (Port Phillip, Kooyong, Cigale and Greenstone Heathcote Shiraz) are names that have been dropped here that I think are worth seeking out for an alternative to what Australia can offer to the wine drinking public. I've also mentioned Luke Lambert (Yarra Valley, VIC), and in the same breath I recommend Bindi Wines (Michael Dhillon, biodynamic Pinot Noir from Macedon Ranges, Victoria). Speaking of Lehmann, Peter's son David Lehmann has his own winery under David Franz and I know he sells to the USA, and that's certainly one to chase down.

Reply by GregT, Jun 10, 2012.

Amon Ra is here, actually I even have some. Big, ripe, standard issue IMO.  One of the more recent developments has been the good work by Two Hands - they do the big ripe style but do keep it rather nice.  Lehmann too - the Mentor actually ages nicely.

Moss Wood and Cape Mentelle and some of the others are in fact available, but not widely.  It's the problem with the Australians in the US - they've been entirely dominated by the big few names.  John Duval does a good job IMO, but he's another one you kind of need to look for.

The whites are very good in many cases, but they're not really discussed or pushed too much. I think Australia does top notch Riesling, interesting Semillion, and good Pinot Blanc, Verdejo and so on, but that's not what first comes to mind when one thinks of Australia.  In part that's because the big brands had an advantage in marketing, in part it's because wine critics found those big Shiraz wines and went gaga over them, and in part it's because people got conditioned to low-cost, sweet wines from Australia so they didn't bother to look farther. Brand Australia was very successful, but also limiting.

Of course, the recent efforts to brand regions as opposed to the whole country are even worse - they're entirely artificial and IMHO, quite stupid. But then, that's just me.

The Australian Harvest Faire used to be a good opportunity to taste a lot of different wines and to talk to winemakers and learn about them.  That's not been happening as of late and it's a shame because I know many people who picked up wines to work with that were first tasted at that tasting event.

Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 10, 2012.

Greg, interesting that you mention Pinot Blanc, because apart from Hoddles Creek's Yarra Valley Pinot Blanc, I can't name another other Australias PBs. For that varietal, my mind skips right away to France, Alsace.

I guess Semillon is slowly being regarded as a mainstream Australian white. Beyond that, Tahbilk Marsanne stands out but there are scant few there after. Oaked sauvignon blanc anyone?

Reply by zufrieden, Jun 10, 2012.

The response to this timely thread was so overwhelming that I was unable to read all the very interesting and (yes) intelligent commentary.  However, what struck me in reading through what I did read through was how little versed most of us seem to be when it comes to Oz wine.  The opinion of the down-unders appears to be that, as you move out of that isolated and somewhat stereotyped sub-continent, the quality available to the consumer diminishes in some proportion to distance from point of provenance.  Bearing in mind that I am rather experienced in seeking out quality over quantity (it is an expensive curse), I too bemoan the fact that accountants determine what many overseas markets get to see.  I avoid this pernicious intervention in my hedonic life by dealing only with reputable suppliers or with the producer. 

I find that Australia has developed its own personality vis a vis the fruit of the vine and as Robbie Coltrane once said in character as "Cracker", "I like it!"

For example, the Molly Dooker line of Sparky Marquis is a matter of taste, but in terms of quality and intent, Sparky has produced absolutely over-the-top delicious high-test Shiraz that is accessible to the punter or the self-proclaimed expert (like me).  The price is not exactly cheap, but it represents good value against boutique product from California.

Forgive me if I am a bit fixated on Molly Dooker just now - but these wines are (finally) widely available in Canada and the United States so worthy of further discussion.  A cheaper alternative might be the "R" wines mentioned earlier in this thread; however, the financial viability of this operation was in question not so long ago, so while pricing is better, the continuance of the product may be in question.  My niece introduced me to "Skulls" Shiraz which was a very hot but actually very good wine.

Finally, we are all captives of our early wine education and experience.  I admit to a preference for those wines of the cloudy climes of Bordeaux so when it comes to Molly Dooker (par example) I prefer the "Two Left Feet" blend of Shiraz and Cabernet which, by the way, is excellent for the price.  This wine is no Boredeaux wannabe, but then I like to keep an open mind and as a kind "outdoors-y" type leave my palate open to true unadulterated power.  Ergo, there is a visceral appeal to wines from "R" or Molly Dooker.

When I get back to Oz - maybe in a year or two, I will be testing out some of these vague theories I have been foisting upon thee.  Until then, Cheers!

Reply by GregT, Jun 11, 2012.

Zuf - I agree with you that the Mollydookers are finely made wines.  They're something I can't drink actually, but they're not accidental nor the product of someone who is letting random events take place, a la Joly. If you haven't look for the wines done by Michael Twelvetree - the Two Hands wines. They're throttled back a bit and to me, some of the best in that full tilt style.

Terence - maybe I should have said Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris.  I don't know a lot of producers who do them but I do remember tasting through some Tasmanian wines and thinking "these are pretty good" so it stuck in my head, especially as I usually don't care much for either of those grapes no matter where they're from. Anyhow, I think one producer was Matthew or Mathias or Marions something like that, and there was Bass, which I remember only because I was wondering if they were the big company and a few others. As I recall, there were over a dozen and I was thinking that those wines should be more widely available.

Some pretty good Gwertz as well, which was deeply embarrassing to me because I had recently told someone how useless that grape was after the first 2 sips of wine and then lo and behold, I tasted some dynamite Gwertz from New Zealand and from Tasmania within a few weeks and had to take back my comment.  It's worth digging up my notes because the NZ producer had a really good PB as well.  They were looking for importers so I guess we're not finding them over here just yet.


Reply by zufrieden, Jun 14, 2012.

Greg, I believe I had a tipple of Michael Twelvetree product (Two Hands) at a tasting locally some time ago and yes, if my fading memory serves, this wine fits the profile we've been discussing.  I will give Michael another whirl for comparative purposes over the next little while.


Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 17, 2012.

There doesn't seem to be any R wines floating around the major wine chains in Melbourne, and there is limited Two Hands wines too. Interesting how most of it seems to be slated for export.

So in their absence, I had to go with the following this weekend:

Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2010, Margaret River, WA

AUD$21. Very pale yellow straw colour. Fermented with wild yeats and maturedfor 9 months in French oak barrels. Youthful spritzy aromas of white peach, honey melon and hint of buttered cashews. A dry, med+ bodied wine with plenty of acidity but that is partially hidden by the rounded feel on the palate. 12.5% alc. Flavours of white peach, squeeze of lemonade, raw cashew nuts and baked spice. A nice, clean finish. Drink now - 2014. Current release is 2011.

Flametree Shiraz 2010, Frankland River, WA

AUD$30 direct from winery. Fruit was from two vineyards. Rhone strains of yeast were used for fermentation, and maturation was in used and new French oak barrels. Intense ruby colour that clings to the glass. Lifted youthful aromas of freshly cracked peppercorns, savoury plum, cherry liquor and a hint of dried herbs. There is almost a sweet concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon characteristic which is interesting. Dry, medium+bodied wine with tea-like fuzzy velvety tannins and moderate tannins. The weight is concentrated on the forward half of the mouth, with flavours of cherry compote, black plum and sweet herbs. 14.5% alc. It's developing nicely, should drink well fora few more years. Drink now - 2015+.

Kalleske Clarry's GSM 2011, Barossa Valley, SA

AUD$18 direct from winery. A blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (47/40/13). Each variety was fermented separately on left on skins for 7-14 days. Matured in old oak hogsheads for 7 months. Intense ruby colour. Clean youthful heavy aromas of black cherry, raspberry liquor and a hint of char-grilled lamb cutlets. Dry, full-bodied wine of silky texture, moderate fine grained tannins and high acidity. 14% alc. Rich flavours of dark berry fruit, cherry and raspberry. A straight forward wine that is good value for money at this price. Drink now - 2015. The Clarry’s GSM 2011 recently picked up a Gold medal at the London International Wine Challenge, and was judged Australia’s Best GSM.

Reply by zufrieden, Jun 17, 2012.

For the record, I have an decent (but diminished) Australian collection - not at all limited by the wines of Mr Marquis.  I recently downed my Ben Glaetzer supply - less a 2009 Amon Ra - but I need the summer to arrive to allow my hardcase outsdoory-type buddies the opportunity to imbibe the Molly Dooker inventory over the BBQ.  As I said much earlier in this thread - which is timely, given the issues in Europe which will impact wine supply - be sure of that - the wine power is there in Oz and it is not just a duracell copycat. Every nation must develop its own character, and Oz is doing very well in this respect - much better than California, IMHO.

There are, of course, truly superb Cali wines, but that is not my point.  Where are we going with this huge post-investment banking hobby of boutique wineries? - that is the question.  If we are to be subsidized by the financial wizards that is one thing (and a good thing at that), but would the accountants allow it I wonder?


Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 19, 2012.

A couple of wines to recommend to the forum, and ones which should be available to the USA market in due time. These are new 'Barossa Grounds' single vineyard releases for Damien Tscharke who produces the Glaymond and Tscharke wines. Just need to remind everyone that the 2011 vintage for the Barossa wasn't brilliant due to the abundance of rain and the long ripening season. But there were pockets of the valley that were lucky enough to avoid being rained out, and with the prolonged ripening period, very good flavour profiles can be seen in some of the wines. By comparison, the 2010 vintage will surely be right up there with the all-time best vintages for the Barossa.

Damien is releasing a new label called ‘Barossa Grounds’ which are single vineyard wines from the Marananga district – off the Gnadenfrei and Stonewell vineyards. In doing so, he has managed to capture to essence of the land while showcasing the best characteristics of the Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mataro grapes. The wines are good examples of robust elegance if such a thing is permitted to exist.

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Marananga Grenache 2011, Gnadenfrei Vineyard, Barossa Valley
AUD$32 direct from winery. Clear med+ to intense ruby colour. Youthful restrained cluster of cherry syrup, transient waft of truffle and salted strawberry preserve. Dry, medium+ bodied wine with an even slate of grainy tannins. There is definitely an ample amount of acidity there, but it isn’t on the forefront because there is plenty else to enjoy. Firm structure, med+ intensity flavours of strawberry and cherry fruit. There is some savoury plum on the well-rounded finish. 14.5% alc. Certainly one could say this is a stray away from the typical bombastic black Grenache wines of the Barossa, but the rainy 2011 vintage has certainly allowed the softer characteristics of this varietal shine through. 4000 bottles produced. Drink now – 2015+.

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Marananga Mataro 2010, Stonewell Vineyard, Barossa Vineyard
AD$32 direct from winery. Intense black ruby colour. A youthful bouquet garni-esque mix of blueberry and blackcurrant, fresh baked muffins, dried herbs and toasted peppercorns. Dry, full-bodied wine with plush grippy tannins and high acidity that pauses for a couple of seconds before sweeping across. Rich flavours of plum, blueberry muffin, dark chocolate and a dash of cinnamon. 15% alc. Supple rounded finish. 3333 bottles produced. The 2010 vintage is widely hailed as one of the historical bests for the Barossa Valley. This brilliant Mataro embodies the vintage conditions and is thoroughly enjoyable. Drink now – 2019+.

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Marananga Shiraz 2010, Gnadenfrei Vineyard, Barossa Valley
AUD$32 direct from winery. Intense black purplish ruby colour. Youthful lifted warm florals, liquorice and crème de cassis that is dense and weighted, feeling very compact at present. Dry, full-bodied wine with young velvety tannins that are grippy right now but should become more sleek with time. 15% alc. Ripe acidity takes a step to the back for the ripe fuller flavours of blackcurrant and liquorice to be on the forefront. Long lingering finish that goes for more than a minute. Wow! My previous fracas with Marananga shiraz left me thinking it was all brash and dense fruit forward wines. This is a half step back, there is layered depth without relinquishing the exciting fruit flavours. 6667 bottles produced. Drink 2014/5 – 2025.

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Marananga Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Stonewell Vineyard, Barossa Valley
AUD$32 direct from winery. Intense black ruby colour. Youthful perfume of blackcurrant, black plums, cloves and smoking pan grill. Dry, full-bodied wine, silky texture, smooth velvety tannins and abundant acidity. Rich sweeping flavours of plum, almost Serbian plum brandy-like, blackcurrants and hint of anise. 15% alc. The balance of flavour intensity and firmness of the structure is a stand-out for me. I am completely bored with the big finishes, and this wine lets you drift down to ground in a parachute. 6667 bottles produced. Drink now – 2022.

Also recommended: Barossa Gold Shiraz, GSM and Cabernet Sauvignon. These retail for ~AUD$17.

For availability in the USA, contact Martin Scott Wines operating in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

*I am in no way affiliated to Tscharke wines or Martin Scott Wines*


Reply by Terence Pang, Sep 3, 2012.

Decided to spruke up an old thread instead of starting a new one. Surprised not to see a thread for #CabernetDay, or did I simply miss that? Here's a couple of wines that I think members of the forum can find in the USA and are worth a go to see if they ally with your tastes.

Had 6 wines from more recent vintages, with representatives from the various Australian states of Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. I did omit a couple of options from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and Eden Road in the Canberra district, but we would have really struggled for a Thursday tasting. The wines are presented in the order of tasting, and I have transcribed my scribbles as best as I could.

Dalwhinnie Moonamble Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Pyrenees, Western Victoria, Australia
AUD$50. Intense inky purple color with youthful aromas of blackberry jam, creme de cassis, allspice and oaky vanilla. A full-bodied wine with plenty of acidity which is really necessary otherwise the sheer weight of the flavours would overwhelm and make this boring after a single glass. Firm unyielding tannins that take ages to fade away, retaining the rich flavours of blackberry and blackcurrants. Drink now – 2022.

Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
AUD$45. Intense black ruby color. Youthful aromas of blackcurrants, black plums, black olives and finely crushed dried herbs. A medium+ bodied wine, fine balance of the fine grainy tannins with acids for a fleshy sensation of ripe plum and blackcurrant syrup. A long finish, this is great with charcuterie board. Drink 2015 – 2012.

Fraser Gallop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Margaret River, Western Australia
AUD$30. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Made from destemmed fruit. Aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, a third new oak. Intense inky ruby color, lifted notes of blackcurrants, blueberry, dark chocolate overtones and hints of violet florals. A med+ to full-bodied wine with high acidity and moderate fine grained tannins. Easy drinking, fuss free, flavours of reduced dark berries, spice and roughly ground peppercorns. Drink now – 2020.

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Margaret River, Western Australia
AUD$30. Intense dark ruby color. Youthful aromas that are slightly restrained, needs a bit of work and swirling to unveil more aromas, notes of blackcurrants, blackberries, warm scrub bush, and hint of blackpepper. A full-bodied wine, robust tannin structure with high acidity. Flavours of blackberry with cedar and spicy seasonings, and pepper on the long finish. Interesting wine to see whether it develops overs two more years, but drinkable now certainly. Drink now – 2017.

Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet 2010, Barossa Valley, South Australia
AUD$40. I somehow got convinced that it was valid to put this into a Cabernet lineup, must have been the growing effect of the earlier wines. I have to confess to finding the Glaetzer wines rather boring and one dimensional, I have cleared out my stock of Glaetzer wines. The 2010 is black purple in colour, staining the glass with every swirl. Intense youthful aromas of blackcurrants, blueberry, warm jam, dried meats and spice. It is absolutely full-bodied, high 15% alc, plenty of young firm tannins and high acidity. Rich flavours of blackcurrant, syrupy in nature, earthy but the use of new French/American oak is obvious and is a distraction in my opinion. This will need time, drink 2015 – 2025.

Mollydooker Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, McLaren Vale / Langhorne Creek, South Australia
AUD$47. A blend of McLaren Vale fruit with Langhorne Creek. Aged in 80/20 American/French oak with 53% new. Intense inky black color. Intense aromas of blackcurrant, liquor vapours, mint, dark chocolate and a warm pan grille. Very over-powering for the end of the night. I really need my eye fillet steak with all the horse radish for this one! Full-bodied and full throttle joocey, robust berry jam flavours with baking spice, nutmeg, plenty of acid but that’s an afterthought. 15% alc. Surprisingly, even the tannins get overcome by the fruit weight. I raised the white flag after one glass. Some may love this style of wine, but I’m not in that bunch. But a well-made wine, no doubts about that. Drink 2015 – 2020.



Reply by GregT, Sep 3, 2012.

Well now that you've resurrected the thread, here are a few I've had recently.

Dutschke Oscar Semmler - mostly Syrah, or maybe all Syrah, I can't remember. Not overdone, a bit of grip even, wish I had a lot more.

2004 Magpie the Fakir - one of the best under-the-radar wineries around. They do a full Mourvedre and a GSM type blend and I like them both very much. Ripe and sweet to be sure, but not syrupy and alcoholic and better than many a S. Rhone. And none the worse for the passing years.

2002 Katnook Estate Prodigy - can't remember a lot about it as it was with a group of other wines, but another very nice job.

2004 Mitolo G.A.M. - thoroughly disappointing. Mostly menthol and blackberry syrup. Not horrid but it retails for over $30 and isn't much better than something you could get for under $20.

2006 Samuel's Gorge - I think it's all Grenache, or mostly so. What a good job!  If you like Grenache, I think the Australians do it as well as anyone and better than most. I'm going to be opening one from Spain in a few minutes but the profile is completely different. This one is full of the raspberry notes that make Grenache so enjoyable, but it's not hot or alcoholic at all. Well done.

Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Ridge - they are another one of those producers who put out wonderfully enjoyable, drinkable wines for under $20. Good every year too. The Barossa Cuvee or the Shiraz, both are always nice.

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