This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2002

UK Wine Forum - Australian reds, part 1

N.B. This is Australia part I, an archive of older notes. Click here for most recent notes.

Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

Australian reds

12/01 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Very dark colour. Powerfully minty nose, some smoke and dark honey too, then burnt rubber. Palate smooth and cool with a lovely streak of fresh acidity. Then thick chocolatey fruit into good finish. Very nice! (Stephan Muller, UK)

12/01 Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Shiraz 1999 (Barossa)
Dark colour to edge. Whoppingly huge dark nose of toast, liquorice, lots of chocolate and sweet vanilla, then honey, mulberry and deep, sweet blackberry. Noticeably alcoholic upon warming in the glass. Sweetly fruited palate with serious amounts of chocolate and coffee, and bacony aromas coming through towards the finish. Sufficient tannic grip to stop the whole package from becoming cloying and to make it long-lived, and a very long finish. This is a no holds barred taking no prisoners BIG Aussie Shiraz. Very good. (Stephan Muller, UK)

12/01 Pipers Brook Vineyard "Pellion" Pinot Noir 1998
Its not bad, in the beetroot and boiled sweet sytle. Fruity (no vegetal compost or farmyard aromas here) but there is a fair amount of volatile acidity, which is why it appeals to Fincham no doubt (in fact its on its way to being like a Musar, though its not as good - its in no way "complex"). The finish is a little bit sweet (I'd like it sweeter!) and this probably reflects what a good year '98 was down under. 13.0% abv. £13.99 from Tesco (Daron Fincham, UK)

11/01 James Irvine 'Grand Merlot' 1996 Eden Valley. 14%abv
Deep purple. Huge soaring complex nose of toasty oak (over 36 months in French oak apparently) with masses of ripe black fruits and Asian spice. Actually, a good sniff of this wine made me want to sneeze, so powerful it was! The palate was full of ripe blackcurrant fruit and juicy berries turning to sweet plum, with some game, chocolate, and savory/earthy notes. Reasonable finish with its huge firm tannins but this example seemed slightly extracted. The nose didn't seem that this was a straight Merlot but the palate gave it away. Certainly not an ordinary wine but disappointing given the £40 paid for it. At least I've actually tried one now and it would be interesting to see how long this wine will age for. I'll give this bottle up to 5 years. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

11/01 Henschke 'Abbotts Prayer' Merlot-Cab Sauv 1994 Eden Valley. 13.5%abv
Medium purple/red with slight fade to the rim. Great intense herby nose with chocolate, blackcurrant, leafy earthiness and some mushroom. Lovely. The knock back was full of that vibrant Henschke quality and fineness with great depths of flavour. Complex gamey leather (!), mushroom, some rhubarb, plum/prune, coffee and ripe year chocolate with a velvet smooth finish. Lovely subtle, slightly sweet, vanilla oak touches with silky smoothing supporting tannins and attractive cool fruit characters make this a sumptuous wine with its superb supple texture. Great finish. Very different in style to the Irvine (not a blend) and this will last for at least another 6 – 8 years. An excellent maturing wine. My vote goes to the Henschke in this head-to-head. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

11/01 Howard Park Cab Sauv/Merlot 1995
Deep Crimson/purple. Good earthy plummy cassis nose, seemed quite forward and a little hot (14%) for a HP even at six. The palate was good and rich with smokey cedary sweetish French oak, mulberry, prune and chocolate flavours. Pity about the slight VA lift though. I'll go out on a limb here and give the rest of my stock a further 2 - 4 years to see if this wine will develop any further. Reasonable finish. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

11/01Penfolds Bin 389 1993
Medium red purple. Slight mint and herbal aspects with some chocolate. The palate is somewhat poor and washed out, slightly bitter but with some tannins left with the charry oak, red berry fruits and savoury notes. A very short finish. I hope this was a poor bottle, if not then the wine almost has fallen apart. Not bad enough to pour down the sink, but almost! (Phil Wilkins, UK)

11/01 Salena Estate (Riverland) "Ellen Landing" Petit Verdot 1999
There was something about the Pirramamamia petit verdot (my first try of this varietal) that I wanted to put my finger on. Its present in this wine too. A kind of background savoury aroma and flavour, almost meaty. Its hard to pin down because this medium red (as opposed to black) wine has a toffe fudge nose and a lovely sweet finish. Very fruity. Still as with the pirra... (ach, I give up!) I won't rush back for another bottle at £8.99. Its 13.5% abv. and at Morrisons. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/01 Penfolds Bin 389 1998
I have always enjoyed this wine and thought it to be the best of the wines made in commercial quantities. This however was just a mess. Full of stewed fruit and alchol with no structure and depth at all. Initially I though it was going to be great - deep red, almost black in colour with a great nose. I hope that this was just a bottle from a bad batch! (David Pearce, UK)

10/01 Chateau Tahbilk 1992 Cabernet
If this wine was a human it would be a femanist (sorry ladies). It is very delicate and traditional in style but with bulging muscles. After an hour in the glass in opened up a bit to show sweet cassis and blackberries on the nose. Most of the primary fruit has long gone has been replaced by a lovely delicate vanilla and blackcurrant on the palatte. It reminds me of a '96 Bordeaux and I wouldn't pick it up as being an Aussie in a blind tasting. The length is medium but is lasting longer the more it is opening up. A throughly enjoyable light "skinny wine with definition" although at the peak of it's maturity. I will open up a '94 next week to compare. (David Pearce, UK)

10/01 Vixen NV, Fox Creek Sparkling Shiraz
The bubbles are fading fast on this (it was bought when the 98's came out). Not the best red fizz I have ever had. As with all of these sort wine its a love it or hate it thing. I think they're great, but the wine was becoming jammy and after 30 minutes the bubbles had all but gone. Also tasted more like a merlot than a shiraz. Drink up if you have any !! (Cameron Clark, Holland)

10/01 Charles Melton Nine Popes 1998
Surprisingly transparent, the bouquet is all sweet jammy grenache fruit with a hint of cummin, leading to more sweet fruit in the mouth with a long long heady finish, however, it carries it's 14.5% alcohol reasonably well and is very drinkable, down to the last drop on the first night. A half decanted and recorked is less enjoyable the next day. Has a bit more character than say d'Arenberg's 'Custard Green Ash' but not convinced it is worth more than double the price. (Charles Adams, UK)

01/01 Charles Melton Nine Popes 1997
Good strong purple colour, but not as dense as many Oz reds. I wasn't sure whether there was just a tinge of orange beginning to appear? Slightly lifted aromas of black fruits and herbs (perhaps thyme) but also hints of nail varnish (VA?). Very alcoholic on the nose. Simple attack with more sweet red fruit than the nose, very soft tannins but noticeably acidic and too alcoholic for my taste. As the evening went on the fruit grew darker and sweeter and the oak seemed more noticeable. On day 2 the wine had fallen apart, tasting like a poor port. (Mark Pearce, UK)

10/01 Chateau Xanadu Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Nicely understated and pleasant enough, however I was expecting a bit more from this wine. I like other Margaret River producers, even though drinking anything with the word "Margaret" on it takes some doing. Anyhow, I'll give it three Starrs ate my hamster. 13.5% abv. Tesco £8.99. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/01 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 1996 £35 tanners
First one of these I've had that's lived up to its formidable reputation. Very dark, complex nose with black fruit, integrated wood, aniseed and tar. Palate is very deep and mouth filling. lots of fruit and the wood isn't overdone. Some tannin but soft and lingering finish. Very very good. 16.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

09/01 Lindemans Hunter Valley 'Reserve' Shiraz Bin 8200 1991A suprisingly youthful medium purple. Odd scent of tarragon?? initially which blew off after a while. Good varietal components nose of earth, roasted herbs, gamy grill and black fruits. Eventually the great Hunter leathery overtones just came through. The palate is generous and had tar and smoke with fleshy wild berries and ripe plums with hints of liquorice and coffee. The fruit is still sweet, and supported with beautifully balanced tannins and it is now showing signs of maturing complexity. An excellent rich Hunter from a great vintage. I'm not in any rush to drink up with my last 3 bottles. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/01 Cryil Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Medium to full purple. Outstanding aroma of very ripe and plum, mulburry and prune scents. Great classic sweet-fruit palate with deep blackcurrent, chocolate and ripe plum with beautifully seasoned oak with smooth fine-grained tannins. Quite a powerful and complex wine with layers of flavour and texture. Could drink now but it would be interesting to see how it is in 3 - 6 or even 10 more years. Quite a gorgeous finish. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/01Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 1986
A compeletly different animal, not surprising given the 10 age difference. Medium ruby/purple in colour. The nose was a blossoming bouquet of blackcurrents, herbs, cassis, some truffle and licorice with floral/earthy aromas and slightly more savoury than the sweet '96. The palate has flavours of cedar, cigar-box, vanilla with superb ripe blackcurrent fruit and violets. Velvet smooth tannins and a long finnish. Sensational and beautifully balanced stuff. Should hold for a while yet. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/01 Pirramimma (Australia) Petit Verdot 1998
From McLaren Vale in a good vintage. Deep black, no nose - well not of any identifiable fruit and a fair bit of drying tannin. I wasn't keen on it at first but it did grow on me after a while. I can see why they don't put too much of it in claret. It was OK but I wouldn't buy it again. 14% abv. £8.99 Majestic. (Daron Fincham, UK)

09/01 D'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz, 1998
Very dark intense colour, nose shows plenty of oak but nice dark fruit and a hint of spice. A very big wine in the mouth, strong tannins and oak dominate at this stage, but there is plenty of fruit behind this and this will be a good wine. On day three it had developed a hint of a slightly gamey flavour reminiscent of a Rhone syrah. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/01 1991 Wynn's The Michael Shiraz
Deep purple except for a hint of orange developing around the rim. It had also thrown a heavy sediment and could, perhaps have done with decanting. A very pleasant nose with bags of baked fruit and more than a hint of vanillary oak still prominent. A relatively simple but intense palate of black and baked fruits with the noticeable oak in balance. Perhaps a little sweet for my taste? Undoubtedly a "big" wine (Mark Pearce, UK)

08/01 Greenock Creek Cornerstone Vineyard Grenache 98 £25
Deep crimson colour, slightly disjointed nose with some pepper but little wood or fruit. Viscous feel to the palate, no doubt due to the 16.3%abv (no that's not a misprint). Palte surprisingly lacks weight and density. Slightly hollow with very peppery and hot finish. Not really sure why Mr Parker raves about this, maybe I'm missing something, but not a patch on Turkey Flat or Clarendon Hills. 13.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Yarra Yering Dry Red No 1 1984 £30 Reids
Have had 4 bottles of this over last 3 years. still deep red, with no fade. secondary aromas coming through with a quite wild feral edge to nose and palate. Some blackcurrant fruit on palate with very long and balanced finish, minimal tannin. Delicious. Only 12%abv. 17.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Dry Red No1 1987 £28 Tanners
Similar to above. Both supposedly off years but no sign to my palate. deep crimson, figgy, blackcurrant nose. Feral edge to the wine, not at all like usual aussie fare. Very long, very smooth and wonderfully balanced. Incredible amount of sediment, no evidence of oak or tannin. Probabaly at peak. Long finish. 17/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Dry Red No1 1992 £20 Edencroft
Darker with less secondary aromas on nose. More overtly fruity nose and palate, no wood in evidence. Also curiously hardly any tannin, yet not at all tired and seems like there's lots of life left yet. Blackcurrant dominated palate, no wood. Long. Lovely. 16/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Dry Red No1 1995 £20 Edencroft
Still quite simple, however seems remarkably consistent with the flavour profiles of its older siblings. No wood in evidence again although the books reckon around 40% new oak is used. Minimal amount of tannin on finish, perhaps they are held together by acidity rather than tannin? Long and balanced but needs time in my opinion 15/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Dry Red No2 1995 £20 Edencroft
Delicious. Left for few hours in decanter as nose and palate initially very tight. On returning to it, a transformation had occurred. Very aromatic nose with lots of dark fruit and a slight floral lift to the nose. Intense palate which opened out delightfully on the finish with a really tangy acidic lift. Very long, sublimely balanced and delicious. Again no wood evident and minimal tannin. On furter investigation, I discovered that around 10% viognier is added.?this explains the flowers and lift on the finish. 18/20. (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Dry Red No1 1996 £20 Edencroft
Remarkably similar to 1995 but with a slight hint of wood on nose. Overwhelmed by fruit however. More dense palate (supposedly a better year than 1995). Very long but still tight and quite closed. Needs 5 years minimum. Will be very good when it stops sulking however. 14/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

08/01 Cyril Henschke 1992
The the wine had usual aged Henschke qualities of fineness. Nice crimson center fading to a red plum rim, lovely nose of, well, a slightly herbal note which didn't distract from the ripe blackberry and plum fruit, but the palate was quite disappointing, not suprising given the Eden Valley '92s. Rather earthy (not rustic) and somewhat medicinal (without any corkiness) together with flavors of cedar, spice and vanilla. Soft dry tannins. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

08/01 Henschke Mt Edlestone 1995
Beautiful deep crimsom colour. Fantastic sumptuous raspberry and blackberry, slightly coconutty nose. The most fantastic well balanced palate of dark and deep meaty fleshy, liquorice and bramble flavours together with come cracked black pepper notes with a sweet fruit core with just a touch of earth. Difficult year - yes, but a great wine. Just fantastic at the moment. I do like this wine! (Phil Wilkins, UK)

08/01 Kays Bros Block 6 1998
Be afraid of this one but wow what a staggering bottle of wine!! This is just essence of tar and it's tight, tight, tight. Serious weight and almost a double purple opaque colour. The monumental structure is supported by the opulent fruit flavours and a huge black pepper eruption with masses of acid and tannins. It is seamless wine with huge fruit weight. and immense layers of dark chocolate, currents, spice, liquorice, smoke, ripe plums and vanilla followed by an immense aftertaste. The concentration was just incredible. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

08/01 Henschke Hill of Grace 1991
Where can you start on this wine. To me a better wine than the 1990. Just sooooooo intense!! (in the Ridel) with those really rich and lingering vanilla scented and christmas cake aromas. Oh so ripe, concentrated with prune, dark chocolate, tar and roses, earth, coffee, bramble and plum with liquorice and aniseed/pepper flavours with gravelly tannins. Well really every thing was there. Just the most perfect bottle. Forget Grange when you can have an almost perfect Clare like like this. The Bees knees. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

08/01 1997 Tatachilla Clarendon Vineyard Merlot
Deep rich purple red. Plenty of tears. Intense nose of blackberries, plums, leather and vanilla. Low tannin. Full-bodied. On the palate loads of ripe - almost sweet - blackberries with a spicey finish. Good length. Very well balanced - 14% alcohol nicely concealed. Conclusion: Very good. Probably at its peak, but will last a couple of years. Good value at around £12. (Trevor March, UK)

07/01 Tim Adams, The Fergus 1998
I thought it was remarkable how similar this was to the '89 Mont Redon especially the colour but also less so in flavour. The main difference was the that the Fergus was nearly all grenache sweetness of the ripe jammy sort with less of the other flavours one finds in old Chateauneuf. Good stuff though. (Charles Adams, UK)

07/01 Henschke Abbotts Prayer 1989
The first vintage of this drop from the Eden Valley, SA. It's won a few trophies in its life, but from a poorish year. Pale plum color fading to a tawny pale red, but the nose was rather good, if not fantastic, but not an overly complex niff of something wonderfully fruited, or stewed, if you like (not like the jammy fruit of some current new Aussies). The drink, unfortunatly, I think, was on the way down, but not past it - or mature as some people may say. A little earth and a good whiff of green tea/tobacco (not quite cigar box stuff here) and a little plum lurking in there. Very nice mature tannins left though and at 12.5% not to alcoholic. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/01 1991 Johns Blend No.18 Bilyara Langhorne Creek CabSauv
The colour is maturing but still very good, good legs, nose is full on coconut and mint. In the mouth very smooth with a fine structure,mint chocolate (Mint Aero springs to mind if they still make it) with solid berry fruit, mocha and again coconut. Finish is long with the mint persisting supported by hints of cedar and tobacco. Should go a couple of years more. (Dave Sansom, UK)

07/01 Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 1999
Another "Decanter Award". More forward nose than the Ch. Reynella, but a thinner wine. Some liquorice on the palate. This was not as good as the 1998 and has gone up a quid to £7.99 (or was that just the Waitrose price?) 14% abv. But I'm in depressing territory here. (Daron Fincham, UK)

07/01 Chateau Reynella "Basket Pressed" Shiraz 1998
I fail to see how it could be rated at the top of any scale that has five categories whether they are divided up into numbers or words. A "Decanter Award" for a pretty ordinary shiraz. No nose. High acidity. Finish is not and never will be, sweet. 14.0% ab. £12.99 Waitrose. (Daron Fincham, UK)

06/01 Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz 1996
The jewel in the Kay Brothers crown. Very dense purple. But the magnificent blackberry, spicy stewed fruit, voilets, licorice and dark chocolate leap amazingly from the glass, no, they actually leap-frog out of the glass. The palate is of an immense and concentrated structure with very fine tannins, with a huge black pepper & smoky filled kick, high alcohol and matured in Memel (whatever that is) oak casks. Finishes with a huge length. An absolute undiscovered treasure. A McLaren Vale tour de force. Bought back 4 bottles from Oz - much to the wifes horror - where was she to pack her shoes? - and at a cool cost of AU$40.00 (surely a pricing error?) or £13.50. Just amazing but not one for the faint hearted. Oh yes, there is a little bit of vanilla lurking in there somewhere. Excellent. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 1994 Wolf Blass - Black Label, Cabernet Shiraz Merlot
An intriguing wine, one which has lots of interest but I found it hard to like. Good deep colour with little evidence of age. The nose is just a little too overpowering with the vanilla, a suggestion of mint and perhaps some volatile acidity. Big, smooth & creamy in the mouth - really good mouthfeel, despite high acidity. Also good length in a vanilla-y sort of way. This wine seems a bit disjointed and currently not too much pleasure to be gained in taking a second glass. If I wanted this much vanilla I'd eat ice-cream. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/01 1997 Goundrey, Mount Barker Merlot
Just fading a little at the rim. Pronounced red cherries and redcurrant nose - particularly when the domestic management knocks your Reidel onto the ceramic tiled floor ! Good acidity and very smooth tannin. Surprisingly this wine is a mere 11.5% alc. - not that I would have known but for the label. Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/01 Penfolds RWT 1998
Deep purple. Huge and fragrant blackberry & plum fruit nose with a complex and scrumptious oak nose. A little embryonic at this point but a very dense and structured palate with entrenched cassis & plum fruit which is more than matched with the cedery and lightly smoky oak & fine tannin. Finishes with a good length. This will need time to intergrate and should improve to be excellent and a shame to drink this baby now. £29.53 (with discounts) Majestic. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 Penfolds RWT 1997
Deep purple. Again a highly concentrated effort. More liquorice and chocolate with ripe mulberry berries and cassis. Good grippy but slightly sappy tannins on the deeply fruited palate The fruit seems to swollow up the oak in this bottle. Not as intensily fragarent as the '98. Should be excellent for the '97 vintage but at the moment it's somewhat sebaceous, and that will hopefully go. A virtuous first effort. £28.00 (with discounts) Tesco. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 Jim Barry 'McCray Wood' 1998
Deep purple/deep crimson youthful color. Somewhat basic for a toddler but very Australian on the nose. All the usual fruits for a young Australian shiraz - plums, raspberries, blackberries but a strange sort of tarragon scent - but huge and a soaring fullness / ripeness. To knock back, well, somewhat minty with a sweet berry kisser on it, but with a pretty sturdy finnish. Has all the fundamental requirements in place. not to bad. Good/Very Good. The damage:- £17.00 @ Lay and Wheeler. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 Jim Barry 'The Armagh' 1998
Well, this is like comparing the Bin 28 to the Bin 95, but without the huge price difference. Almost non-translucent color with its youthfullness. The fragrance is multi-complex with almost every bit of exotic spice combined with rich fruits, oak and alcohol (14.5%). The sip (sod that, the knock-back), well, it was very concentrated but plush. Everything is in place for a very long future, but I could drink this youngster now. Intoxacating, luxurious, exotic, concentrated, great oak (hidden behind the huge fruit intensity) and what a colossal and elephantine finnish, just huge with structured tannins. This is the quintessence of the Clare Vally. Outstanding. Excellent+++. A real titan. £34.00 @ Selfridges. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/01 Brown Brothers Graciano 1997, King Valley, Victoria
Expecting great things from this Brown Brothers' interpretation of this grape, I was a little bit disappointed: while it's a nice enough wine, it's a tiny bit anonymous, tasting a bit like many other Brown Brothers wines (for example, the Barbera). A bright red/purple colour, it has a dusty, spicy nose with some ripe berry fruit and oaky notes. The nicely balanced palate shows ripe fruit, high acidity and vanilla and spice from the oak. There's an undercurrent of herby, leathery notes. On day two it has taken on a minty, sawdusty character. Tastes a bit like an Italian wine; a bit overwooded. Very good (£8.99 Tesco) (Jamie Goode, UK)

06/01 Pewsey Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, Eden Valley
At an altitude of almost 500m the Pewsey Vale vineyards are pretty much 'cool climate': the fruit was harvested as late as May. This wine has a lovely full, evolved nose of creamy blackcurrant fruit with a leafy edge. The palate shows chocolatey berry fruit and softening tannins, with juicy acidity. Probably drinking at or near its peak. Very good+ (£7.99 Tesco) (Jamie Goode, UK)

05/01 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
A oddity on the bottom shelf at Tesco. Lovely jammy blackcurrant nose, but not in a cloying way. There is also that Medocian cedary smell. Acidity is quite high but refreshing. Sweetish ripe fruit flavour. All in all a very nice wine. A restrained cool climate effort. 13% abv. £7.99 (Daron Fincham, UK)

05/01 Wynns John Riddoch Cab Sauv 96 £35
Deep colour and usual suspects of fruit and wood battling for supremacy on nose.Palate a complete disappointmant, worst QPR by a mile in my life. Dull, disjointed and not very long. The wood was sulking in one corner after having beaten all the stuffing out of the fruit with an afterthought of tannin that no-one was paying attention to. I struggled to drink one glass and this from a fan of Aussie wine. The rest can go in the Bolognaise tomorrow. (Anthony Taylor, UK)

05/01 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1993
Wynns 'black label' Cabernet has a great reputation for ageing well. This eight year old example shows a wonderful nose of chocolate, herbs, mint and sweet blackcurrant fruit. The palate is firm and minerally, but the fruit has receded and the drying tannins are now dominant. Deliciously savoury but the austere tannins put it a bit out of balance. I'm not sure whether it will ever be completely harmonious, but still very good+. (Jamie Goode, UK)

05/01 Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 Coonawarra
Beautifully perfumed nose showing leafy blackcurrant with cedar notes and a mineralic core. The palate is full, with lovely fruit and some real complexity: no new oak apparent. A delicious drop. Very good/excellent (£8.99 Majestic) (Jamie Goode, UK)

05/01 Rosemount Estate Shiraz 2000
I know I'm not supposed to like these mass produced, industrial wines, but this one is great fun. A deep coloured, medium bodied wine with lively flavours of spicy berry fruits, together with sweet cinnamon and vanilla oak elements. This is all backed up with firm acidity. It's a sexy, up-front, seductive red: a real crowd pleaser. Very easy to drink. Very good+ (Jamie Goode, UK)

04/01 1992 Lawsons Padthaway Shiraz
Colour very solid, very viscous in glass with nose of chocolate & cherry, prunes, Benylin and a whiff of smoke. Beautifully harmonious in the mouth with spicy cherry fruit, cloves and a deep mocha presence, concentrated fruit flavours with a smooth structure and a finish which lasts and lasts with creamy coconut and fruit. Will go a few more years yet. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1998 Trentham Estate Merlot
Deep crimson colour, quite leggy with a nose of smoky plums and green gages. In the mouth fruit flavours are deep and smooth with perfumed oak coming through, nicely integrated with a fine structure, certainly the fruit dominates. Finish is smooth and stays for best part of a minute. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 Taltarni Shiraz 1988, Moonabel, Victoria
Quite dark crimson. Real earthy and peaty aroamas. Good raspberry/blackberry and pepper drying fruit. Reasonable concentration and intensity with slightly austere tannins/oak. Just a lovely aged Victorian shiraz. Quite firm with a while to go yet. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/01 Ironstone Zinfandel 98
Wow - a monster wine coming in at 15.5%. The alcohol and tannins grab you immediatly and do not let go. There is medium concentration and an abundance of up-front fruit taking in most of the dark red fruits and almost tasting like a dry and thin cassis. The length is a good 30 seconds. Although approachable now, the wine will become more integrated if you shut it away for a few years. (David Pearce, UK)

04/01 Penfolds Bin 28 1990
Deep crimson / brick red. This still needs decanting to show its self properly (and not just for the crust) for at least an hour. Beautiful and ripe with the usual Oz sweetness. Really quite pruney and meaty with a bit of chocolate and mulberry fruit thrown in. The tannins are still there. Probably don't make 'em like this anymore. Still room for medium term aging. 13.5% abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/01 Lark Hill Vineyards 1999 Shiraz
There first effort, but made with grapes grown further down the mountain. This gets my vote for the best of the new wave Oz shiraz. There is none of the heaviness, strong tannins and ultra ripe fruit here. Just beautiful spicy cool area fruit showing raspberry and plum with fine tannins in its crimson cloak. And the rare thing in Oz shiraz - white pepper. $25.00 Cellar Door. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/01 Lark Hill Vineyards 1999 Pinot Noir
A first here - a pinot that I actually loved (and not to confused with anything from Burgundy please). A seductively perfumed and a sumptuous silky smooth wine. Surely this must rate as one of Oz's best (well the 1999 anyway). Lovely cherry colour with intense savory wild strawberry and forest floor characteristics with some gamy overtones. $30.00 CD (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/01 Clonakilla 1998 Shiraz/Vionnier
The original S/V and from the oldest commercial Canberra vineyards, this is its trophy wine. Grown in the comparatively warmer Murrumbateman area this would pass as an excellent Cote Rotie. Structured and pure (and with foot trodden grapes) it's almost a cool climate Run Rig. Give it at least 6 years. They had sold out at the cellar door (approx 300 cases made) but found 3 bottles in a Canberra bottle shop at $50.00. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/01 1994 Penfolds - Shiraz Bin 128
Deep red, just hinting at brick at the rim. The nose started quite high toned with a whiff of something volatile. After 45 minutes it was much more interesting, very well integrated vanilla with the plummy fruit. At the start, acidity seemed out of balance and there was a hollowness in the mid-palate. Again 45 minutes did the trick. The wine became smooth and long. Very good, but first leave it open for an hour ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/01 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz '98
Burgundy/purple colour, very dark but neither opaque or dull comes with a nose that smacks of ripe prunes and black cherry macerated in vanilla. Not toasty, but seductive in a French oak way - again I went back to check the label ! Finer barrels perhaps ? Anyway, a sign of good oaking is the way that after just 30 minutes the curtain draws back and reveals additional notes of plum, tar and liquorice. Even next day the it's volatility is modest and brightens the fruit still further. On the palate the dark fruit is supple, under-pinned with ripe mouth-filling tannin which is submerged until the wine's drunk without food, and even then the soft acid and tannin base makes this a winner for me for it's character and early drinkability. The finish too is as admirable persistent as it is enjoyable. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

04/01 1998 Wendouree Cabernet/Merlot
Refused to come out and play for any length of time, despite the rather impressive amount of muscle and concentration. Come back in a decade or so. (Yixin Ong, UK)

04/01 Clarendon Hills Old Vine Grenache Blewitt Springs 96
Raved about by RP, no wonder. Saturated purple colour, powerful nose of cherries, plums and wood. Very full bodied palate with loads of glycerin and the 15.5%abv doubtless contributing to the impression of residual sugar. Tasted almost like a recioto and would have been excellent as a port substitute. Balanced all the same with plenty of soft drying tannins on finish. 17.0 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

04/01 1996 Rosemount Mudgee Mountain Blue Shiraz/Cab
Exceedingly good depth of colour, very viscous. Dusty vanillin oak nose with concentrated black fruit flavours. Very smooth, nicely perfumed, smoky oak then spicyness cuts in, beautiful eucalyptus/medicinal notes. Finish goes on for ever with concentrated fruit flavours. Very, very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1996 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah
Nose is a little closed but showing soft oak notes. A little more ferocious in the mouth than the Mountain Blue but still smooth with the oak combining perfectly with spicy, peppery fruit, excellent depth of flavour, perfectly balanced. Finish is fruit filled and spicy with green capsicum notes. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1997 Penfolds 707
Deep cherry colour, berry fruit on the nose is backed with lovely oak, mint and eucalyptus. Quite tannic in the mouth but otherwise full on youthful fruit, with hints of topbacco and coconut. Long finish with piercing fruit. Far too young but still very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1998 d Arrys Grenache/Shiraz
Deep colour with a nose of damson and mulberry supported by good oak. Rounded in the mouth with mineral notes, green plums and a nice spicyness. Spice stays on the finish but the backbone of fruit stays well. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1995 Corbans Cottage Block CabFranc/CabSauv/Merlot
Deep, deep colour, almost solid. Nose full of fruit and soft oak. Full and rounded in the mouth with rich fruit cake flavours, plums, blackcurrants with liquorice spice. Smooth structure and finish with green plum flavours coming through. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1995 Bobbie Burns Shiraz, Campbells
Dense and viscous. Spicy cherry fruit with caramel toffe notes. In the mouth very spicy, leathery and tannic with white pepper and fruit wrapped in caramel and mocha. Finish is peppery with soft oak. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

04/01 1993 Lindemans Limestone Ridge Shir/Cab
Colour is still very good and wine is leggy. Nose has quite well defined berry fruit with background vanillin oak. Mouth feel is smooth and the wine appears nicely integrated with lightly spiced berry and currant fruit with hints of coconut and parma violets, again the background. Structure is fine with smooth tannins. Finish is lasting concentrated berry fruit with cedar hints. Very nice and should last for a few years yet - drink now or hold. (Dave Sansom, UK)

03/01 1998 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Deeply coloured, almost black and the aromas are just gorgeous. There's cedar, all right, and opulent ripe fruit with a creamy complexity. In the palate rich, juicy berry fruit of cassis and plum combines beautifully with the coconut-like flavours of the American oak (I love this flavour) and fine oak tannins marry into the wine to add structure without intruding. The flavour is impressively long. It is a wine to sip and savour with your eyes closed - a totally delicious dreamy wine and one I would be prepared to buy. If I had been scoring the wines, this would have been my highest pointed wine of the tasting - so far. 13.5% abv. NZ$100. (Sue Courtney, NZ)

03/01 1996 Penfolds Grange.
Refined aromas - spice, subtle cedar, violets. Quite satisfying and complex - a wine you could smell for ages. Licorice dominates the palate at first and there is also a flavour reminiscent of chocolate-coated Turkish delight. Fine and vinous, a fusion of so many characters. Ripe, silky tannins combine with chocolaty cedar, spicy black pepper, ripe fruits of citrus, plum, and blueberry, with licorice savouriness and creamy flavours lingering. It is such a treat to try beautiful wine. Yes, words like 'opulent' can be used. Ripe and mellow already but tannins say "Rewards will be had with patience". A truly great wine that cannot be faulted except for its price. Forget food and enjoy this magnificient wine on its own. (Sue Courtney, NZ)

03/01 1988 Virgin Hills, Kyneton, Victoria.
Healthy pure bright medium red color. The nose showed off with complex aromas of elegant tobocco, leaf, cedar, leather and earthy spice. Lovely palate of gentle sweet spiced red berried fruit - maybe with some mint showing through as a garnish. Quite a different Oz wine and, if given blind, I would struggle to say that it was Australian, given its delicacy. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/01 Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz Mc Laren Vale (£20 Tanners)
My candidate for Black Sabbath of the Shiraz world. Drunk way too young but has obvious potential. Inky purple colour, very powerful nose of wood and plum fruit. Palate unformed and ferociously tannic(although the tannin is soft). Tasted much better after 30hrs or so in the decanter when everything was beginning to marry although the wood needs to calm down a bit. Long finish 17.0 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

03/01 Henschke Mt Edlestone 1986
Beautiful clear crimson to tawny color. Has just the most seductive perfume of violets and spice. Oak not too apparent. The mouth has the relish of leather, liquorice, plums and earth with velvet tannins. Verrrrrry complex. Has just the perfect length and aftertaste. Excellent, excellent and excellent and not as you would see an Australian Shiraz these days, even given the viticultral improvements. Have failed to record the abv but I think it was 12% - 12.5% (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/01 Lindemans St. George 1993 (Coonawarra)
On opening, there is a nice whiff of fresh blackcurrant which quickly disappears leaving an unpleasant dirty wood aroma. The dirty wood is on the palate too. After an hour of vigorous air the wood has subsided and the enormous quantities of black fruits packed in this bottle (the sediment is like tar) are beginning to show. Very much a ripe cabernet in the international style with strong blackcurrant and raspberry, good acidity and tannic structure. Keeps on improving over 3 hours but without the tertiary flavours that make fine wine so intriguing. The next day, from a decanted half, that dirty wood is back again and I cannot seem to bring out the fruit this time. Oh well, only 21 Australian reds to go (down from over 60)! (Charles A, UK)

1990 Wynns 'John Riddoch' Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra
A monolithic brute of the wine tasting fairly fresh with ripe fruit, some upfront oak and chocolate, and quite four-square and unexciting, if pleasurable (so long as one likes that sort of wine). Impressive in the sense that it doesn't go overboard in any general direction, and that the structure is still enough to hold it all together. A drinkable wine indeed, soft and approachable, even. (Yixin Ong, UK)

Deep and dense in the glass, nose showing good berry fruit with nice background oak. In the mouth very smooth, full flavoured rich berries and plums with a sublime balance, fine structure and subtly used oak. Finish is long, lasting and persistent.Probably the nicest Cabernet weve tasted. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Dense and leggy with nose of concentrated berry fruit and a touch of oak. Mouth is same as nose with parma violets and a dusting of vanilla, very smooth yet with a rustic edge. Finish is long with cedar notes creeping in. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Nose shows good fruit with a hint of vanillin oak. In the mouth quite smooth, vanilla and spicy plum flavours. Finish has those flavours lingering - expected more somehow. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Deep colour and quite leggy with a nose showing solid berry fruit. In the mouth smooth, good fruit, coconut, eucalyptus with nice background vanilla. Smooth finish with lingering fruit. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Nose shows beguiling soft fruit. Solid mouthfeel with an explosion of fruits of the forest plus tobacco, mocha and peppery spice. Far too young but what the hell - outstanding. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Vibrant colour, leggy, nose shows good fruit spice and clove notes. Quite tannic in mouth but good fruit with spicy cedar and pepper flavours, finish is gripping with lingering pepper and cedar. Probably drunk far too young but still very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Solid colour, leggy with nose of berry fruit and vanilla. In the mouth solid spicy fruit with black pepper you can almost crush, green capsicums and marshmallow, very smooth, well balanced and integrated. Finishes smoothly with lasting solid fruit. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

Solid colour, leggy, nose is immediately accessable - blackberry crumble and cream. Opens out nicely with a palate of soft vanilla and lashings of fruit, touches of pepper, cedar and tea, smooth tannins, finishes with full on fruit with parma violets, nice acidity. Very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

03/01 Tim Adams Aberfeldy (Clare Valley, South Australia) 1995
Incredible, opaque purple colour. Initially, like many of the wines, the nose is all sweet blackcurrant and blackberry pastilles, with other complexities developing as the wine aerates in the glass. The nose evolves into a minty, menthol-laden affair, with a rich seam of chocolate. A really smooth palate, rich with more chocolate and mint. Notable acids with a green fruit characteristic, later on a touch sherbetty. The tannins and acid are more prominent on the big, chewy finish. Good length. A guess at the Aberfeldy. Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Peter Lehmann Stonewell (Barossa Valley, South Australia) 1992
This wine, although similarly opaque, is a dark red hue. A rich nose, initially black berry fruits, but then more chocolate and mint, although less obvious than the previous wine. Develops coconutty American oak aromas. Ripe fruit on the palate, tannic but elegant and finely structured, with good acidity. Clean finish. I guess the Leasingham (wrong!) by a process of exclusion, and also because this wine seems less oaky than more recent vintages of the Stonewell. Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Tyrell's Vat 9 (Hunter Valley, New South Wales) 1993
Less opaque than the other wines, a red purple hue. Smoky, rich fruit on the nose, lots of toffee oak and some reported cloves. With time develops an earthy aroma which sets it apart from the other wines in this flight. On the palate it has big, green tingling acidity. Has less body than the other wines (which is no bad thing) and earthy fruit. More obvious green acidity on the finish. To me it seems a bit disjointed and/or over-acidified, but others praise it. I guess it as the Vat 9 as I think it's a Hunter Valley Shiraz. Quite good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Tatachilla Foundation (McLaren Vale, South Australia) 1995
Almost opaque red-black wine. The nose is laden with toffee oak and rich, ripe fruit. The palate is hugely oak-dominated, packed to the brim with ripe fruit, prominent acidity and big tannins. It has a sweet, full, glycerol-laden texture. Some black pepper. Tremendous length. The oak makes me think it is the Stonewell, but the typical award-winning over-the-top structure should have suggested to me it was the Tatachilla - winner of the Jimmy Watson Trophy when released. Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Leasingham Classic Clare (Clare Valley, South Australia) 1995
A rich, opaque, inky red wine. Seems a little sweaty and leathery at first, but this fades, leaving rich fruit and toasty oak. Another rich, glycerol-laden palate. Quite tannic, packed with fruit, and notable acidification on the forepalate. Interesting coffee and dark chocolate complexity. Spicy finish leading into a good length. Tatachilla? (wrong!). Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock (Victoria) 1994
Quite opaque. Restrained on the nose. Opens out a little, giving some red and black fruit gum sweetness. Raspberry and coffee flavours on the palate, with some toffee oak. Rich, balanced, quite elegant. A delicious wine, but somewhat overshadowed in this company. Not at all sure, but by a process of exclusion I guess this as Jasper Hill! Good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Yalumba Octavius (Barossa Valley, South Australia) 1993
Like all the remaining wines in this flight, this is a dense, dark, opaque wine. Gorgeous nose here - raspberries and cream, black Shiraz fruit and black pepper. On the palate a combination of very typical ripe black fruits, good oak, and a creamy, luscious texture. Tannins and acidity prominent and provide structure. I guess Baloral (wrong!).Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah (McLaren Vale, South Australia) 1994
Another dense wine. A big nose of chocolate and fruit, with a stylish, elegant, perfumed edge. An impressive mixture of fruit and acidity, with less prominent tannins. Here I guess Octavius (wrong!). Very good. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Penfolds Grange (South Australia) 1993
Very dense and opaque. A stinky, complex, vegetal and undergrowth nose. Aromas of beetroot and spices*, with a layer of rich, sweet blackcurrant fruit. This is a huge, multifaceted wine. The palate has big tannins, firm acidity, and is very rich, with layers of fruit. This has to be Grange. Excellent. (Chris Kissack, UK)

03/01 Jim Barry Armagh (McLaren Vale, South Australia) 1994
Another opaque wine. Rich, also vegetal and stinky nose. Loaded with red and black fruits on the palate. Softer than the previous wine, with a more advanced integration of the tannins. Lovely structure, a massive wine. This must be the Armagh. Excellent. (Chris Kissack, UK)

02/01 1995 Torbreck Runrig
Deep purple. Perhaps the most simple (if you need to compare and contrast) of the trio. More akin to a ripe spicy cherry, plum and vanilla compote with a dash of bitter chocolate for added complexity and flavour. Seems to show a little age now, but the palate has integrated nicely with a balanced sweetness and drying tannins. Very good/excellent. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/01 1996 Torbreck Runrig
Deep inky purple. Quite different on the nose compared to the 1995 &1997. More smoke, dark liquor chocolates and blackcurrents here. Not quite as sweet as the 1997 but I did like the briary thick spicy stewed fruit element on the palate with it's inviting texture. Fantastic oak and tannins though. Excellent. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/01 1997 Torbreck Runrig
Deep black. Gigantic whiff of tart blueberries, cassis with a dash of liquorice and spicy floral elements. Akin to a subtle but rich and expensive chocolate and prune pudding. On the palate very rich, radiant and concentrated, but opulent and sort of stately in an Aussie way. A must buy at the original £27 asking price but not at the £100+ now asked. A great Australian shiraz which a big future. My favourite of the lot. Long defined and intoxicating. Excellent. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/01 1996 Yarra Yering, The Underhill Shiraz
Very strange this one. A sniff in the bottle top indicated a slight damp/mushroomy element, in this context quite appealing. Unfortunatley in the glass, this was the dominant component. Behind the mushrooms was a little oak, but the fruit was overpowered. On the palate, medium bodied, controlled tannins, very fine acidity and a sweet finish. Everything I could have hope for - apart from the mushrooms. I couldn't enjoy this - but my wife did! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/01 Arranmore 1997 Cleggets Block Shiraz/Cabernet.
Aus$ 22,80, Cost to me 14.5 GBP. Lovely light purple colour - doesn't appear to be very thick, but hangs slightly in the glass. Smells quite alcoholic, (only 13.2%) hints of cherries and is slightly earthy. Nice rounded feel in the mouth. No great weight of fruit or intensity. Despite 2 years in oak casks, its well integrated, and the strongest taste component is prune. Finishes reasonably long. Buy. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/01 Ralphs Shiraz 1990
One of the first wines I bought for my collection. 3 years ago it was stunning, but now its starting to show its age. Wonderfull dark purple, no signs of browning. Very strong prune smell. Previous spiceyness has been lost and its just the fruit left. More plums and prunes. Originally a bit closed, after half an hour it had opens up into a lovely wine. Got to be drunk up though (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/01 Penfolds Bin 707 1990
Bought around the same time as the Shiraz. No sign of browning at all. Looked in great condition. Not much of a bouquet though (did not have nuch time to develop though). In the mouth there was this wonderful taste of raspberries. Very concentrated - you sip it rather than drink it. Drunk with a Haggis dish, which is quite peppery, so perhaps the pepper components of the wine were hidden. Very good (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/01 1995 The Michelton Print Shiraz
Deep almost impenetrable ruby red. The nose was a warm and spicy/peppery mixture of plum and prune. Whilst full bodied, this is not a thick 'syruppy' brute. The tannin is soft, the acid balanced and the plummy fruit is sweet but not cloying. At last! Eureka! A 'premium' (though undoubtedly overpriced) Aussie shiraz which you can enjoy to the bottom of the bottle. Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/01 Evans and Tate Margaret River Shiraz 1999
This won a wine of the year accolade at the IWC. Not a black monster, its actually a red colour, so I was hopeful of a restrained elegant wine. But no. A blast of those confected fruit smells that I associate with wine made in industrial quantities, then a more subdued nose. Medium bodied, quite acidic. Not very interesting flavour and that dark chocolate aftertaste at the back of the tongue that I dislike nowadays. Don't know how it won anything. 14% abv. £8.99 Safeway. (Daron Fincham, UK)

02/01 1994 Leasingham, Classic Clare Cabernet Sauvignon
Still impenetrable purple, maybe hinting at ruby. Strong primary blackcurrant and blackberry aromas with a hint of smoke from the oak at the end. Still looks and smells like a young wine. The nose and concentration of thick black fruits in the mouth gave an almost Port-like impression, only the lower alcohol was a giveaway. The tannins are soft and the acidity mild. Very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/01 Ch. Xanadu Cabernet 98, Western Oz
A modest ruby colour and the nose shows good cool, leafy cabernet fruit (or make that more tradional European cabernet character as opposed to dense ripe, cassis and chocolate that is more normal for Oz cabernet) with a hint of licorice - probably from the French oak. A modest palate but the cool flavours sit slightly uncomfortably with the alcohol and slightly elevant acids. It's true this wine style would have noticable acid for structure - but with the extra degree or so of alcohol (even though this wine says 13.5%) make the combination more intrusive. Maybe when we talk added acid - it's actually the alcohol/acid balance that is the problem - overall acid is probably higher in European wines but seems to sit better with the wine. Modest finish. Overall not bad, even good, relatively OK priced at £9 (Nick Alabaster, UK)

01/01 St. Hallett (Australia) "Old Block" Shiraz, Barossa 1991
Better colour than the '89, though less than the '90 above. More sign of age. Nose of vanilla and stewed fruit. Silky smooth, seamless acidity and tannin (both less marked than the '90.) Juicy fruit. Lovely mouthfeel. Not a long finish, but better balance than the '90. Ready now. Virtually no sediment. 14.0% abv. £9.45 Tanners. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/01 St. Hallett (Australia) "Old Block" Shiraz, Barossa 1990
Dark colour. Crimson. No real sign of age. Nose is oaky - too woody, musty in fact - some cork taint, I guess. Tannic with quite high acidity. Grippy, longish finish. Lip smacking. Shame about the dirty barrel smell, because underneath there is a lot of fruit. This would appear to have more years in front of it. Threw a massive sediment. 13.5% abv. £9.45 Tanners. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/01 St. Hallett "Old Block" Barossa Shiraz 1989
Went into Tanners yesterday and for the cost of a bottle of Grange walked out with 19 bottles of "Old Block". This was first up to get the bad news out of the way. Gorgeous blood red colour showing some sign of its antiquity. The nose; well served blind I would have sworn this was an old Gran Reserva Rioja. High-toned, but not in the "polished furniture" way that claret can be, more Port-like. Palate appears to have too high an acidity on the first couple of sips (you know when the back of your tongue waters!) but this soon gave way to a lovely sweet, strawberry fruit flavour (again like a Rioja). Medium bodied - but some glycerin mouthfeel. Finish was also of medium length and not overly tannic. Not bad for the kind of rubbish vintage we hear about for Oz in 1989. 13.5% abv. £9.45. Bargain! (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/01 Jim Barry, The Armagh Shiraz, 1997
A real and pleasant suprise, an Aussie Shiraz that is subtle. Nose of eucalyptus? Beautifully balanced and a great wine. (Mark Robertson, UK)

01/01 Mount Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997
A blend of 75% Cabernet, 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Deep blackcurrant nose, soft but with a backbone of tannin. Good. (Mark Robertson, UK)

12/00 Wynn's "Mountadam" Eden Valley Pinot Noir 1997
The colour is quite pale. There is plenty of aroma surging from the class. The fruit type is hard to pinpoint. It just has that "pinot noir character" smell as well as plenty of sweet vanilla from the oak. The palate is very sweet, but spoiled a little upon the first few sips by the hot alcohol (14.0% abv. - a bit high for such a light bodied wine). This soon passes though and although not the longest finish in the world this is a nice drink. Its what people call "jammy" - yeah, that describes the fruit and maybe blowsy, though I don't really know what that term means or whether I've spelled it correctly. Still, you are dealing with someone who thinks Romanian pinot noir is drinkable. £9.99 Majestic. (Daron Fincham, UK)

12/00 1999 Fox Creek JSM
A blend of 68% Syrah, 20% Cab Franc, and 12% Cab Sauvignon. Deep, dark purple (almost black) color; huge jammy blackberry nose, tar and spice; incredible blackberry fruit, cassis, and spice on the palate; the finish goes on and on. The wine is drinking great now and hard to see that it would improve much more. I think this is bigger but maybe less complex than the '98. Bonus: this wine gives you that lovely purple teeth look. $30 after discounts. (Paul Jaouen)

1997 Tatachilla, The Clarendon Merlot (£12 Oddbins last year)
(Tasted against some classy Pomerol) Dark red, still with a hint of purple, clear at the rim. Sweeter nose than all the above with a cooking plum pie nose ending slightly ‘creamy’ from the French oak. Nice depth of fruit. The smooth tannins less obvious than in the Pomerols. Plenty of acidity and unlike the Feytit-Clinet, stayed in balance with food. Good length, again a creamy finish (I think) from the oak. My notes are consistent with a year ago, except that the finish seems better now, though slightly warm - 14%. Again very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/00 Rosemount Hill of Gold Shiraz 1998
After drinking half a bottle of this I looked like something from the Hammer House of Horror - Nosferatu at least. Everything was stained. My lips, gums, teeth, my shirt. Hugely extracted, deep purple, unremarkable nose, soft - bit of grip on the aftertaste, but really just a vehicle to convey 15% alcohol by volume down the hatch. As Toby would say not very interesting. Oh well, another £9.99 down the swanny! (Daron Fincham, UK)

11/00 St. Hallett Old Block Shiraz '94
There was a pleasant plum aroma on opening that feeded into not quite so pleasant sawmill smell, but this feeded too to leave a fainter plum (was this the whole aging history of retold in 15 minutes?). Compared to the Reynella this was lighter and more transparent and much lighter on the palate, more like a very full bodied Burgundy or new wave Rioja than standard Oz shiraz. Still a good full well balanced mouthfeel making for easy drinking over two nights. (Charles A, UK)

11/00 Ch. Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz 1995
A bit cold on opening and gave slightly musty, vanilla and creosote aroma, no strong fruit detectable. Palate was very spicy with sweet fruit and oak, very full bodied with viscous glycerine lining the glass. Too acidic for me, even with food. Did not develop in glass. Overall fairly classic Oz shiraz, the first glass a medal winner but becomes hard going after that. (Charles A, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet '92
A youthful looking deep ruby red. A fresh nose of smokey/cedary oak and sweet plummy fruit at first. Turns mocha like after a few hours open. On the palate it's initially quite drying but with good plummy/blackcurrant fruit over the dusty tannins which soften with air. Attractive wine but while youthful tasting, for drinking now. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Coonawarra Cabernet '92
A slightly darker colour and the first blast on the nose is promising but dies down into an angular mix of oak and almost astringent fruit (or is the oak that's astringent ?). Palate gives the impression of elegance but in fact behind the oak is a hollowness with elevated acids and like another bottle drunk recently, is disappointing. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet '95
Deep ruby/burgundy. Rich blackcurrant and redcurrant with subtle smokey oak support. A hint of volatility with air which doesn't detract developing an attractive chocolatey richness on the nose and palate. Good weight of black fruits on the palate with background oak giving additional sweetness. Medium bodied, elegant but mouth-filling fruit nicely balanced to a modest finish. Talk of the lack of the Bin 707 in '95 giving additional fruit selection in the 407 seems justified - a very attractive wine drinking well now. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet '91
Very deep ruby/red. Even denser fruit here with a subtle cedary oak note developing. Almost cassis like richness to the blackcurrant fruit just on the edge of showing some volatility. Palate densely fruity, ripe, full bodied in a balanced low acid, softer tannin style. Long smokey fruit finish. Lovely wine all round - may develop further but very drinkable now. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet '93
A medium deep ruby/burgundy. Modest nose of black fruits with earthy/spicy notes. Turns a bit diffuse (milky/syrupy - more often described as soapy perhaps ?) with air. Palate fresh with medium bodied black fruits with some persistent tannin on the finish. A fair wine but not as fine as other others in the range with it's sense of leanness and lack of 'clarity' (i.e. not the most distinctive cabernet character). I'm not sure where this one's going - it feels like it could dry out. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet '94
A deep ruby/burgundy. Rich blackcurranty fruit on the nose with supporting smokey oak. Quite chunky and youthful, seems to have better depth, supporting structure and balance than the '93. The '94 vintage as a whole seems to be shaping up better than '93 although the two drunk remarkably similarly last year (when the oak was more dominant perhaps ?). (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Bin 707 '90
ruby/burgundy - no signs of age. Initially a dryish, savoury oak character on the nose with leafy cabernet fruit. Similar oak dominate palate - cedary with supporting black fruit. Surprisingly only medium bodied and somewhat angular to start with too, with lightweight finish of soft woody tannin and alcohol. I'd opened this well ahead of time and it certainly needed it. The wood seemed fresher although turning more coffee bean like than anything. Certainly the palate filled out quite nicely becoming fuller and more rounded showing better, more mouth-filling fruit. It is very good, but I wouldn’t return at the £15 I paid, let alone the £85 sometimes asked for now. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Penfolds Bin 407 '90
This wine has consistently shown more impressively to me that the Bin 707 '90 but with a half soaked cork this one couldn't surpass it. A deep red core with no obvious signs of premature age, a similar earthy character to the cedary oak, and on the palate perhaps starting to dry a little. Some very attractive leafy blackcurrant fruit though and overall the fruit is nicely ripe and balanced by an elegant structure which is mouth-filling and lingering. Overall it's easy to draw comparison to the two, with the 407 being a lighter version of the 707 but none-the-worse for it but in fact, the majority of the '90 407s we've drunk have been better. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

11/00 Peter Lehmann (Barossa) Shiraz 1998
Another highly regarded wine from the IWC and good write ups from Atkin and Gluck. However, I was reminded of the latter's tirade a couple of years back about how Oz shiraz had been "lobotomized" by low tannin and hence become "gooey broths". This wine is amazingly sweet and won't be to everyones taste. Enjoyable with a curry or just on its own. 14% abv. £6.99 Safeway. (Daron Fincham, UK)

11/00 Stump Hill (McLaren Vale) Shiraz 1998
An impulse buy. What a difference two quid can make. Darker and denser than the above. The nose developed that lovely leathery smell. Liquorice and clove spice on the palate. Firm, fine grained tannins on the finish. A less "commercial" product than the Peter Lehmann. 14% abv. £8.99 Majestic. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/00 Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 1996
Very dark saturated garnet. Dark, spicy "lifted" red fruit - noticeable alcohol doing the "lifting". Jammy underneath a dense, oaky (for me) nose, almost cooked, slight mintiness. Coarse oak tannins, lots of extract but little real flavour, spicy oak, some pepper, hefty and burly wine, perky and spiky acidity, with a raspberry jam finish. (Yixin Ong, UK)

10/00 Chestnut Grove Pinot Noir 1999, Manjimup (Great Southern), Western Australia
Light wine with pure cherry and raspberry fruit. Nice balance and good varietal character, but relies too much on primary fruit character to be compelling. Good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz 1997, Frankland River (Great Southern), Western Australia
Super wine in a very European style. Deep red/purple colour with a pronounced savoury, peppery nose. Firm tannins and peppery, raspberry-tinged fruit dominates the palate. Quite tight at the moment, but this may well evolve in the bottle. Subtle and complex with good concentration, rather like a good St Joseph in character. Very good + (c. £11) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1997, Denmark (Great Southern), Western Australia
Deep coloured wine with a forward, minty and menthol-laced nose. Tannic and ripe on the palate, this is a big wine with more of the creamy, ripe menthol character. There are flavours of blackberries and cream, and complex coffee and chocolate notes. Impressive, balanced stuff despite its size, although with a strong winemaking imprint. Very good/excellent. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Vasse Felix Heytesbury 1997, Western Australia
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, aged in American oak. Deep coloured with a sweet menthol and eucalyptus nose. Tannic and mouthfilling with some leafy redfruit. Tasty stuff, but my only criticism is that it is perhaps a little over-ripe and jammy. Very good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Western Australia
Thick, purple black wine with a dense, sweet nose of blackcurrant and backberries. Smooth ripe fruit dominates the palate, with soft tannins and a sweet, creamy texture. Concentrated, up-front and very drinkable. More-ish. Very good+ (c. £14) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Margaret River, Western Australia
Purple/black colour. Concentrated, creamy blackcurrant fruit dominates the nose and palate, with a delicious core of firm tannins and mineral notes. Pure fruit combines nicely with good structure and weight. Lovely stuff, with distinctive Margaret River character; a serious wine, although you'd never mistake this for Bordeaux. Excellent. (c. £30) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Hollick Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon 1994, Coonawarra, South Australia
Opaque red/black colour. Restrained spicy blackcurrant and mint nose. Huge tannic beast of a wine with lots of tannin and acidity. Despite six years' age this still tastes youthful. Fierce, impressive stuff, but will it every resolve? With its dry, spicy tannins, this is almost like a high-end new wave Tuscan red. Very good/excellent (c. £20) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Grant Burge Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
A Coonawarra/Barossa blend. A bit of an old fashioned Aussie oak monster. Sweet, forward nose of menthol and mint. Ripe palate with a ton of oak and impressive concentration, followed up with an acid kick. A big wine showing a heavy winemaking imprint. Good but not my favoured style. (c. £20) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Grant Burge Holy Trinity 1996, South Australia
A Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre blend. This is an attractive, Grenache-dominated wine without too much oak. Sweet nose of cinnamon, vanilla, herbs and tea. Light and quite heady with spicy tannins on the palate. Very good. A bit like a souped up Gigondas in style. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Henschke Keyneton Estate Shiraz/Cabernet/Malbec 1996, Barossa Deep purple/black colour. Forward nose of spice, mint, roasted coffee and eucalyptus. Sweetly oaked fruit on the palate. Some tannins, but overall this is soft and approachable; attractive but not too complex. Very good, but there's a heavy winemaking imprint, and this will be too oaky for some. Drink up soon IMO. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Torbreck 'The Steading' 1998, Barossa
Another Grenache/ShirazMourvèdre blend. Purple/black with a ripe, earthy and slightly funky nose. Interesting palate, with sweet fruit and some tannin and a bit of herbiness. Somewhere in between the typical Australian and European styles. Good, but not compelling -- a little light. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1995, Barossa Although there's a bit of Cabernet in this it's primarily a Shiraz. Australia's most famous red wine, and on this showing, from supposedly a slightly lesser year, deservedly so. Opaque red/black colour, with an enticing, exotic nose of tar, leather, mint, herbs, eucalyptus and menthol. On the palate it is tannic, with dense fruit, spicy complexity and quite high acidity. It's a lovely, complex, well balanced wine -- there really is enough of everything to balance the substantial new oak and ripe fruit. Approachable now if you don't mind the firm tannins; shows enough character to make it a compelling drink. Excellent. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Ralph Fowler Shiraz 1998, Coonawarra
Another red/black wine with impressive concentration and character. Understated nose leads to a palate dominated by spicy, sweet fruit and moderate tannic structure. May evolve nicely with some bottle age. Good/very good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz 1995, Barossa
A huge, bold wine with a minty, eucalyptus nose and noticeable American oak. Ripe and full on the palate, with spicy/sweet coconut and vanilla-laced fruit. Too sweet and jammy for me, but good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 1998, Hunter Valley
Quite restrained in comparison with the other big high-end Aussie reds, I was a little disappointed by this. I had the 1991 a fortnight ago and it showed lovely evolution and complexity -- let's hope the 1998 has a similar bright future ahead of it, because at the moment it shows moderately concentrated, rather simple sweet fruit and a bit of oak (American?). (c. £30) (Jamie Goode, UK)

10/00 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 1996, Clare Valley
Superb stuff; big but balanced. Rich, sweet, spicy and complex, with firm tannins and huge concentration. Exotic wine, but not overblown: rounded, complete and mouthfilling, with no awkward edges. Very good/excellent. (c. £35) (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Barret Picadilly Hills Pinot Noir '98
Not widely available with it's 200 case production - and that's a real shame. I'd tasted the '96 before and had difficulty coming to terms with Parker's note on the '97 saying it could be mistaken for a Cote-du-Nuits. The '96 was good but in an Ozzie way. However, the '98 is good in a real Burgundy way. Lovely, expansive, perfumed nose of gently spiced red fruits meets with a bright, firm red fruits. No obvious oak or over-ripe jammy fruit as it the case with most Oz Pinot I've tried. Real class and without doubt the best Ozzie Pinot I've tasted. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 Yalumba Signature Cab/Shiraz '90
Drying out, no fruit left just stale oak. Awful. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 Penfolds Bin 389 '92
Not an awful lot more fruit that the Yalumba, but just enough to make a glass or so interesting. Disappointing. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 Penfolds Coonawarra Cabernet '92.
Not the greatest depth of fruit (or anything come to that !) but quite pleasant for a glass. Drink up. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 Penfolds Bin 128 '96 Shiraz.
Best new release of any wine I've tasted from Penfolds since the '91 vintage. A blast of stylish oak settles down within minutes. Really terrific syrah character much like an excellent New Worldy Crozes. Lovely elegant fruit, soft (seemingly they didn't go made with the acid adjustment) but balanced. At £8 recently in Tesco the first Oz red wine I've bought in more than a single for a year. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 Penfolds Bin 28 '96 Shiraz.
Back to normal. Overripe, aggressively acidified and not much fun to drink. Heavy and lacking good shiraz character. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/00 St. Hallett (Barossa Valley) "Old Block" Shiraz 1994
Pale colour in comparison to the rest. Oaky nose. Steely taste. Acidic. Thin. My guess Clare Valley. Wrong! Purchase price £11. Points 10. Rank 3rd. (Daron Fincham - UK)

09/00 Jim Barry (Clare Valley) "McCrae Wood" Shiraz 1994
Second darkest wine to my eye. No real nose. Nice palate. Sharp finish. I reckoned it was the Western Oz. Wrong again! £10. Points 8. Rank 4th. (Daron Fincham - UK)

09/00 Houghton's (Western Australia) "Gold Reserve" Shiraz 1994
Third darkest. (This wine also contained an unspecified amount of malbec.) Rich nose. Fruity. Luscious palate. More tannin than the first two. McClaren Vale? Boing!! £9. Points 12. Rank 2nd. (Daron Fincham - UK)

09/00 Chateau Reynella (McClaren Vale) "Basket Pressed" Shiraz 1994
Darkest colour. Very nice nose. (Everyone commented on the volatile acidity!) Sweet flavour. Must be the Barossa. But no. Nil pwoints! £8. Points 20. Rank 1st. (Daron Fincham - UK)

08/00 Rosemount Hill of Gold Cabernet 1998
From the Mudgee region of Australia, is a serious single vineyard Cabernet of immense proportions that could never be mistaken for old world. It shows masses of dusty ripe fruit and lashings of American oak, which the fruit soaks up with ease. A bargain at £9.99 in Waitrose. (Jamie Goode, UK)

05/00 Mount Helen Cabernet sauvignon-Merlot, 1996 (Vic)
Deep, almost opaque purple. Mildly intense nose full of eucalyptus, chocolate and sweet blackcurrant. Soft, supple tannins and an underlying sweetness of black fruit. Chocolate and eucalyptus abound and a lingering finish well received. Good 'freshness of flavours' in this wine. (Graham Simpson - UK)

05/00 Meerea Park 1997 Alexandra Munro Shiraz (A$40)
Massively concetrated wine with red/black/puple colour. Rich, with strong menthol tones. Spicy and dense, this is currently pretty tannic and needs time to show its best. Excellent. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Château Pâto Shiraz 1998 (A$32)
Knockout intensity. Soft, concentrated and spicy. Absolutely sensational menthol-laced wine: tannic and stunning; incredibly good. Excellent. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Petersons Back Block Pinot Noir 1998 (A$33.00)
Deep red purple colour. Rich and intense wine with firm tannins and ripe red fruits. There's some oak and plenty of complexity. Stunning stuff, and unusually big and structured for a Pinot. Excellent. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Petersons Back Block Shiraz 1998 (A$36.00)
Concentrated red/black colour. Intense nose; herby and rich with some oak evident. On the palate it is ripe, rich and concentrated. Needs some time to show its best, but has the potential to become sensationally good. Excellent. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Glenguin Shiraz Individual Vineyard, Hunter Valley 1998 (A$30.00)
Deep purple/black colour. Lovely lifted nose, with some porty, herby notes. Great concentration. Rich, soft wine but with some sweet oak and structure. Very good+. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Brokenwood Mistress Block Shiraz 1998 (A$40)
Single Vineyard Hunter Valley. Tannic with rich fruit. Concentrated, super stuff that really needs cellaring time to show its best. Very different to the Brokenwood Rayner Vineyard Shiraz in character, which comes from the McLaren Vale. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Scarborough Pinot Noir NV (A$20)
Only 400 cases or so of this wine was made, and it is mostly 1996 fruit, with some younger wine blended in for freshness. Soft, dense red berry fruit (strawberry and plums dominate), but with underlying tannic structure. Full flavoured and quite dense for a Pinot Noir. I bought some of this. Very good. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Brokenwood Rayner Vineyard Shiraz 1998 (A$45)
Made with McLaren Vale grapes. Richly fruited, with spicy oak. Dense with soft tannins, this is already approachable. Displays the trademark McLaren Vale character of soft, chocolatey, dense fruit. Superb. (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Lindemans Pyrus 1995, Coonawarra (A$39.50)
Leaving the Hunter and moving to South Australia, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. It is seductive stuff. A big, minty, leafy nose gives way to soft, mint and berry flavours of great intensity and concentration. Tasty stuff. I'd drink this now while it still has the lovely intensity of fruit. Very good + (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 9th Island Pinot Noir, Tasmania 1998
This is a disgrace. Nose: None. Palate: None. Finish: None. Its rubbish. (This was the opinion of everyone who tasted it with me.) I should have taken it back to Tesco's and asked for my £8.99 back. Disgusting stuff! (Daron Fincham - UK)

05/00 Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 1994
Deep, youthful ruby-purple colour. Very fragrant, alcoholic nose with sweet red and black fruit and vanilla dominating the undertones of mixed spices. Big and robust with the front palate showing spices. The mid-palate was chunky with grippy tannins and black fruit and the finish was swathed in white pepper. Still to throw off the shackles of youth and perhaps the palate will open up more given time. Charles Metacalfe, in WINE magazine (June 2000) said this was 'dumb'. I'd just say it was 'youthful'. (Graham Simpson - UK)

05/00 Mount Langi Ghiran Shiraz '94
Started off deceptively Rhone like with peppery/earthy ripe, rich but elegant berry/plum like fruit. A nicely balanced wine drinking well. With time more vanilla oak comes out and leaves a less complex impression. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

05/00 Temple Bruer Shiraz/Malbec '96
A thick looking burgundy/purple with rich looking purple bubbles and staining tears. A terrific value at £5.60 currently in Tesco for fans of the style, offering much and in many cases more of what Oz offers at up to four times the price. Overripe prune like fruit and alcohol aromas greet the nose along with liquorice, tar, plum with plenty of sweet integrated vanilla oak which also makes a hedonistic impression on the palate. Lush, thick rich fruit, warming alcohol and soft tannins on the finish (the malbec, oak or packet ? Who can tell !). Overall, don't hang on to this one, I've only see this style go one way in the past, drink it now while it's obvious and fun. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

04/00 Bannockburn Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1995
Very attractive nose: soft, fragrant and aromatic. Successfully combines rich fruit with herby complexity and some complex leafy elements. It's a bit like a ripe, open Bordeaux and is drinking beautifully now. Very good to excellent. (Oddbins Fine Wine, £13.99) (Jamie Goode - UK)

04/00 Brokenwood Rayner Vineyard Shiraz 1998, McLaren Vale
Brokenwood, in the Hunter Valley, make three single Vineyard Shirazes: the most famous is the Graveyard, but newer releases, the Mistress (also Hunter) and this offering from the McLaren Vale are both in the same league. This is dense and richly fruited, with soft tannins and spicy oak. Rich and chocolatey, this has real McLaren Vale character, and is approachable now. Superb stuff. (Stocked by Oddbins Fine Wine/ La Reserve, around £18). (Jamie Goode - UK)

04/00 Lindemans Padthaway Chardonnay 1998, Australia
From a cool-climate region in South Australia that is well known for producing great Chardonnays, I was really impressed by this wine. Fully barrel-fermented, with a deep yellow colour. Intense, complex fruit character combines nicely with new oak. Rich, intense and concentrated, with figgy, tropical fruit and spice notes. Superb stuff. Very good to excellent. (£8.49, Bottoms Up/Thresher) (Jamie Goode - UK)

04/00 Lindemans Pyrus 1995, Coonawarra, Australia
The second Lindemans wine to make my selection this month, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. It is seductive stuff. A big, minty, leafy nose gives way to soft, mint and berry flavours of great intensity and concentration. Tasty and more-ish. I'd drink this now while it still has the lovely intensity of fruit, rather than gambling on cellaring it. Very good + (Widely available at about £13) (Jamie Goode - UK)

04/00 Rosemount Mountain Blue 1997, Mudgee
A stunning blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from a less well known but extremely promsing wine area of New South Wales. An opaque purple colour, this is a huge, dense wine. It is richly oaked, with minty fruit and a slightly syrupy texture. Extraordinary stuff. Excellent, provided that you like this supercharged style. (Jamie Goode - UK)

04/00 Peter Lehmann 1998 Shiraz 'The Barossa'
Multivinyard Barossa blend - 14% Alc/Vo. Deep purple colour. Delightful dark fruit and vanillin nose. Very concentrated shiraz fruit, long finish and considerable gentle warmth. $A14.95 = $US8.90 = UKP 6.0. This is a wine that reminds of Fox Creek and is 90% the concentration and intensity of the 1997 Shiraz - i.e. this is a great QPR in my view. (David Moore, Australia)

04/00 Grant Burge 1998 'The Filsell' Shiraz
14% Alc/Vol - $A17.50ish = $US10.50 = UKP 7.0. Very similar to the above but distingushed by distinctly sweeter fruit both on the nose and palate in my view. Also a little more tannin obvious - but not excessive. (David Moore, Australia)

03/00 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Barossa Shiraz 1993
The Stonewell Shiraz is blended from Greenock, Stonewell, Siegersdorf, Moppa and Koonunga Hill grapes. It has barrel fermentation, and, acording to the label, sees the 'best oak' (whatever that means). Decanted one hour prior to serving. Left quite a bit of sediment, thin crust on the inside of the bottle.
A: lovely colour, sort of brick-tawny red, doesn't look old or tired. Moderate colour intensity, fading to a pink-orange hue at the rim. Develops numerous thick oily legs (if you wait long enough!)
N: blackberries, accompanied by fine, dark chocolate jump from the bottle as soon as it is opened. Also some loganberries, and an elegant, smoky aroma, with subtle vanilla oak. (Aside: Although I am very oak tolerant, what a joy to find well used oak when wines from the New World are constantly accused of over-oaking.
P: good weight, red and black fruits, fine chocolate again, and freshly ground coffee. An intensity of fruit reflecting excellent Barossa fruit, and good alcohol (14%). Tannins and acids balanced. Finishes with a rich, creamy texture but with an alcoholic kick. Almost port-like. Very good length.
Overall: excelent. Score 18/20. (Chris Kissack - UK)

03/00 Yarra Yerring Dry Red No.1 1993
After being disappointed with the YY NO.1 '90 last year (thought it was fading), didn't hang around on this one. Mainly cab from Victoria, Oz, this is fresher with a subtle French oak (guessing) sheen over some lovely balanced, for Oz anyway, restrained fruit. Good deep ruby red, nicely balanced fruit and soft tannin under-pining. Not greatly long, but stylish and drinking well and the VA nature I've come to expect with YY in check. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

02/00 Henschke Mt Edelstone 1994
Aggressive whisky barrel like American oak on the nose; on the palate tempered nicely by an impressive weight of berry fruits. I thought this would be drinking better than this, and I can't say for certain this isn't going to dry out and leave oak in the way the '92 has. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

02/00 Deakin Estate Shiraz (Victoria) 1999
Bright reddish colour, slightly pale for an Aussie shiraz. Ripe slightly sweet nose. Layers of fruit and spice, flavour intensity belies the palish colour of the wine. Not much oak apparent. Highish acid now but will presumably soften over the next few months. Very impressive fruit intensity for the money, but in no way an overpowering Aussie sledgehammer. Excellent, may well match the superb 97 I enjoyed a year or so back. This has just arrived at Oddbins at £5.49. Bibendum at £4.99. (Paul Armstrong - UK)

01/00 Maglieri Shiraz Barossa Valley 95
This has mellowed beautifully, certainly not past it yet, though probably not to hold for too much longer. Deep young colour still, good tears. Intense but mellow, lovely flavours of chocolate, plums, cinnamon and nutmeg. Lots of sediment so had to pour carefully. Very gluggable stuff. (Paul Armstrong - UK)

01/00 Penfolds Bin 407 1990
A dark garnet core and no obvious age in the rim, (some have shown some tawny). A really enjoyable soft, ripe, medium bodied wine with supple structure and modest finish. Flavours of cedary black currant and other black fruits, still quite fresh and fruity at it's heart but showing lovely development too. This won't get any better but on the other hand we're not going to rush the last 3 or 4 bottles either ! (Nick Alabaster - UK)

01/00 Henschke Keynetton 1993
(Nick Alabaster - UK) A shiraz/cab blend from this famous South Australian producer. Very deep ruby with no obvious signs of age. Nose of candied rhubarb (the Hill of Grace from this year is distinctly rhubarb like, whereas this is just a hint of the long, problematic vintage), raspberry syrup and blackberry pie filling on the nose. Palate has an heavily oak influenced creamy, candied feel but now all nicely integrated. With the ripe fruit. Good medium to full bodied weight and reasonable length. Nice Oz example at peak I'd say.
(01/00 Nick Alabaster - UK)

01/00 Wines of Rosemount Estate

1998 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
This is a red wine made more-or-less in the same way as a white wine, with cold fermentation and no oak. Lovely bright sweet nose of strawberry and cherry fruit, with a touch of banana. Light and pleasantly tart, this is an attractive style for young drinking. Perhaps a little overpriced at £6.49: would be great value for £5!
1998 Cabernet Sauvignon
Aged in a blend of French and American oak. Lovely deep colour, with a sweet, ripe nose. However, on the palate there is quite high acidity and perhaps the wine is a little bit too 'technological'. I'm not as keen on this as I have been on previous vintages. At £7.49, better value is available elsewhere.
1998 Shiraz
Fruit is sourced primarily from McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek. ged in a blend of French and American oak. This has a pleasant spicy sweet nose. On the palate it is still quite tannic: again, this is tasty, but not as good as previous vintages, tasting quite technological.(£7.49) 1996 'GSM' McLaren Vale
A blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Shiraz and 10% Mourvedre, from the McLaren vale, aged in new American oak for 18 months. Lovely spicy sweet nose, with sweet berry fruits and a cherry-like finish. It is warm, authentic, complex and concentrated, but perhaps a little too reliant on American oak for me to want to splash out £16 on it.
1996 'Traditional' McLaren Vale
This is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot that has spent 18 months in new American oak. Deep coloured and sweetly fruited, this an attractive, serious wine. Again, however, the sweet American oak is prominent and in my book stops this wine etting top marks. (£16)
Mountain blue 1997, Mudgee
An opaque purple colour, this is a huge, dense wine. It is richly oaked, with minty fruit and a syrupy texture. Extraordinary stuff. Excellent if you like this supercharged style, but not cheap.
Traditonal 1997, McLaren Vale
A Bordeaux-style blend. Interestingly, this contains some Petit Verdot, a grape that is rarely encountered. Deep purple/red. Huge menthol-laced wine with sweet oak. Big and tasty, very good. (Jamie Goode - UK)