This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005

UK Wine Forum - Australian reds, part III

N.B. older Australian notes are archived here.

Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order. Please note that fortified wines are not listed here, but under fortified wines

03/04 D'Arenberg "The Galvo Garage" 2001 Mc Laren vale
Hmm, not sure. As a longtime fan of this winery, I find this to be the least convincing of all their red wines. Deep colour, with quite austere earthy nose which continues on the palate, although there certainly is a decent amount of fruit. Finishes long but pretty dry with quite forcful tannin at present. definitely needs food and not a million miles away from a recent bordeaux in a hot year. Can't help but feel it falls between two stools however. 13.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

03/04 Bannockburn Pinot Noir Serré 1993
Very pale colour. A rich, earthy nose with some greenish tinges suggesting whole-bunch fermentation. Very good, pure fruit. Ripe and fun but certainly not over-ripe. Good concentration and some real complexity. The finish was a touch short. Very good, however, and certainly the best Australian Pinot I have tried. (David Strange, UK)

02/04 Penfold's Bin 707 1998
Very attractive nose, lovely smell of cigars. Rich in flavour and full bodied. Plenty of stuffing and a long finish. But really no development beyond the first glass. I was hoping for much more interest here. This is a very well made wine, and the nose is beautiful, but frankly nowhere near worth the money asked. I'd rate it *** (Joel Hopwood , UK)

02/04 Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard (Shiraz) 1994
Significant ullage in bottle, but no seepage. Cork broke while opening. Lots of sediment on decanting. Rich, dark colour. Incredible nose - pepper, vanilla, dark fruits. Ripe berries and more pepper on the palate, still quite youthful. Lovely long finish. Outstanding, try another in 4-5 years. (David Jenkins, UK)

02/04 1993 Rothbury Reserve Merlot (Hunter Valley)
No decanting, just poured this wine straight from the bottle. The back label says: “Made from fruit grown on mature vines at our Mudge vineyard.” A deep strawberry red core with a terracotta rim. The eucalyptus and slightly alcoholic nose shows cinnamon and, with some swirling, a touch of green pepper. The palate is soft, slightly acidic with dusty tannins and an acceptable length for a wine of this price. From memory, I enjoyed my last bottle more, which was about two years ago. I feel that the fruit has started to fade. Drink up, if you have any bottles left. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/04 Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 1994
Sigh. As a duty I should post the 10 year tasting of this Coonawarra shiraz. Not much to report really. A tad brown at the rim, nose pretty muted and a quite acidic palate (compared with Bin 28 1994). Alcohol 13.5%. Apparently I bought this from the Co-op for £8.99. Daron Fincham

02/04 Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 1994
Well, my finger is well and truly out. Compared this with the Bin 128 1994. Kalimna? What's that all about? This one is smoother in the mouth. Less acidic. Again a tad brown at the rim, nose has a hint of vanilla. I really miss the lovely label of this wine - the font made the word "Shiraz" seem really special. But then I'm a sucker for a nice label. Alcohol 14%. I remember now: the Co-op where Granny Fin lives. £8.99 Daron Fincham

02/04 St. Hallett (Barossa Valley) "Old Block" Shiraz 1994
Vanilla oak blast and a somewhat dusty feel to the tannins suggest the fruit is flowing out of this wine. Still nice though. 13.0% alcohol by volume. Tesco. Current vintage, what? £14.99? (Daron Fincham , UK)

02/04 Chateau Reynella (McLaren Vale) "Basket Pressed" Shiraz 1994
Not such an oak blaster this one. However the palate is far superior to the "Old Block" with sweet, juicy black fruit flavours and a bit of liquorice and spice. Smooth tannins and a nice mouthfeel. 14.0% alcohol by volume. Oddbins for around £15 (Daron Fincham , UK)

02/04 1996 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz (S.Australia)
Matured in American oak casks for 14 months, this blend weighs in at 14% alcohol. Double decanted to remove the sediment and then tried within fifteen minutes. Opaque plum red, the nose shows mostly eucalyptus with soft vanilla and some dry earthiness. Slightly sweet, the smooth mouthfeel provides liquid plum pleasure with soft tannins and a good thread of acidity running right the way to the end of the good finish. I imagine there is still a few years left of development in this wine but I am happy drinking it now. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous , UK)

02/04 1995 Campbells "The Barkly"
This wine is 100% old vine Durif and 14.5%. It was double decanted 30 minutes in advance to filter a light sediment. Dark strawberry red, the rim appears to be turning a lighter shade of almost terracotta. The nose is a mix of dry earth and eucalyptus, with a hint of cherry liquor as well. The palate is semi-sweet, almost like a Ripasso-style Valpolicella, with a hint of bitterness and a decent thread of acidity running through it. Currently rated at 86/100. I have tried all of the vintages from 1992-95 and my favourites are the 1992 and the 1994. They both appear to have greater depth and richness, which may be due to better vintage conditions. ((Nicos Neocleous , UK)

01/04 1997 Penfolds RWT
The inaugural vintage. I like inaugural vintages for their hype of greatness. As usual this one lacks but was stunning in its youth. Not much sign of age on the rim. Coconutty & plumy/ prune notes on the nose. The palate delivered nothing great the palate save acid. Was this added?? The fruit was diminished showing signs of something but little else save the (added) acid. A poor wine in all or perhaps in the usual Oz 6~9 year awkward phase. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/04 Houghton (Western Australia) Gold Reserve Shiraz 1994
Nice colour. No real sign of age. Hardly any sediment. Blast of vanilla oak. Medium bodied. Acidity lowish. A bit of black fruit. Nice. 14.0% abv. Idsall Cellars. £8.99 on release. Just about deserves the price. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/04 Jim Barry McCrae Wood Shiraz 1994
Deeper red colour than the Houghton Gold Reserve. Even less sign of age. Thrown quite a sediment. Absolutely no nose. Dress size hard to tell, because this wine is overwhelmingly acidic. (Note to self: go to the dentist!) A bit of black fruit. Poor. 14.0% abv. Tanners. £9.99 on release. Not really worth it. (Daron Fincham , UK)

01/04 Henschke Abbotts Prayer 1991
Medium purple with signs of age on the rim. A perfumed nose to die for showing blackcurrant, damson, raisin, coffee & herby floral violet notes and a splash of eucalyptus, truffle & cedar – almost sensual really. The palate is completely mature & seamlessly woven giving a richly flavoured, complex & pure notes of gamy fruit with baked plum, black berries, cassis with a chocolate centre with meaty/leathery/earthy components. The French oak has completely integrated & finishing with softened tannins, little acidity and good length. At its peak now & unlikely to improve. A plush, stylish & balanced wine full of charm. 13.5%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/04 1996 Mount Langi Ghiran Shiraz
Deep cherry red with quite pronounced legs. The nose is initially slightly mute, but slowly opens up to reveal plum pudding, earth, leather, tar and black pepper. Dry, medium+ bodied, quite elegant with a nice silky mouthfeel that really works for me. Plenty of dark fruits as well. I really liked this wine, indeed it was my favourite of all the reds, although I couldn't pick where it came from. (Phil Shorten, UK)

01/04 1996 d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz
Deep cerise with very thick legs suggesting quite high alcohol. Youthful ripe, jammy (raspberry, strawberry) nose that suggests Australia, specifically South Australia (though it could also be a Grenache based blend from southern Rhone). Cloves and vanilla essence also come through on the nose, indicating generous use of oak. Very rich palate - buckets of ripe (though not stewed) sweet plums and dark berries, together with exotic spices. Shows some vanilla oak on the finish, but the wine is not angular in any way. At 15%, the alcohol is high, but I find the wine to be well balanced. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet 1990
Very closed nose. Greenish notes, with the merest hint of blackcurrant. Fresh fruit, medium tannins. Guessing S or SW France, possibly carignan based. Bit light for cahors, though it is a bit reminiscent of tannat. If he's being evil, this could be something like a Uruguayan tannat, though it doesn't quite have the tannic structure for that. OK. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

11/03 Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 1996
concentrated without being fat, not bad tannins and a long aftertaste. This is quite drinkable and a good wine to boot, although there's better for the price. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/03 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz
one I've had a few disappointing bottles of, but this was singing - restored my faith for the remaining 6 in the cellar. For me the 386 stands out as a style - even vs the competition - this was a really super and complex wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/03 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon
like the '128' concentrated without being fat - nice wine but not exceptional. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/03 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
deep colour, still showing purple at the edge of the glass. Similar nose to the 407, but with the volume knob turned to '10'. Fat and concentrated palate which is very, very primary. Impressive, but at this stage of development not so interesting - I'll try another in 5 years. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/03 1995 D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
I had bought bottles of the 1993-95 some years ago on the recommendation of a manager at Oddbins that was highlighting rich and powerful Australian Shiraz's to me. He had told me that they would be drinkable young but age gracefully as well. Perfect! I thought it would be an interesting comparison to try it with a similar age to all of the other 1995's in the line-ups. I double decanted it about four hours in advance for aeration and to get rid of the sediment. I did try it as soon as I had decanted it to get the first impressions. It had tasted full bodied, very rich and heady with alcohol, with a huge powerful finish. The decanting time made a noticeable difference. The opaque red visual led to strong nuances of overripe raisins, eucalyptus and a touch of vanilla as well. The bracing acidity carried the velvet mouthfeel very well and I hardly noticed any tannins as well. I tried to get an idea of the length of the finish but it was huge. This is an impressive wine and I think everybody at the table enjoyed it. Many wine lovers often ask how the younger vintages of concentrated Aussie wines such as this will age. I do not have any definitive answers and it all depends on each persons preferences. However, I am certainly happy with this wine and it will probably last another ten years at least, evolving with more secondary characteristics. 94+/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 1997 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
An opaque deep purple. All I could smell was a very strong blast of eucalyptus. A very powerful thrust onto the palate, the velvet texture was pleasing and the finish was very long. A huge wine that needs a few years to calm itself down. 93/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 2001 Turkey Flat Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
Nice full bodied balanced wine, ripe with typical Barossa softness and some glycerol filling the mouth. Good wine that is definitely not OTT, but lacking something special IMHO. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 1999 Grant Burge "Meshach" (Barossa Valley)
Deep crimson in the glass. Youthful nose of stewed fruit and plums with a touch of spice. Quite medium weight in structure. Not OTT at all - ripe, silky with sweet fruit. Good - Yes, worth the price - No. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 2002 Jasper Hill "Emily's Paddock" Shiraz/Cabernet Franc (Heathcote, Victoria)
Deep inky purple, clean "meaty" nose also yielding pepper. On the palate dry, with the Cabernet Franc coming through. Nice gravelly tannins (almost Bordeauxesque!). As is the case with all Jasper Hill wines, beautifully silky (before the tannins kick in). Superb, and better than the extremely good Georgia's Paddock. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 1996 Tatichilla Foundation Shiraz
Won Trophy at the 1998 IWC (I think). This was very full bodied with flavours of deep rich boursin chocolate, spicy blackberry and wet earth, coupled with medicinal, gauze pad nuances. Extremely concentrated, this showed very light tannins and low acidity- also some charcoal flavours. Wasn't keen on this, too flabby now, with not much structure to hold up the massive fruits-mushy. (nick wise, UK)

10/03 2001 d'Arenberg - The Stump Jump
This comes in a red and white version. I paid $7 for the bottle. It is a screaming bargain anywhere under $10. A blend of (GSM) a take off on the Rosemount version...Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre. This wine is very Zin like with zesty spice notes on the nose and plenty of red and blue berry essence that jumps out of the glass and grabs you by the schnoz. Ripe, juicy and in a friendly, "drink-me-now" style. It is well balanced and has mild tannins that only show up slightly on the finish. This wine reminds me of a less jammy and youthful Ridge Geyserville initially. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/03 d'Arenberg 1995 Dead Arm Shiraz, Mclaren Vale (14%)
Deep opaque plum/purple extending to rim. Deep spicy leathery nose with a core of blackberry fruit that comes through in time. Slightly high-toned sweet edge. Initial flavours are akin to a big Italian wine - bitter cherry flavours, but with added black pepper spice and tannin still quite strong and enveloping in a smooth style. Big in terms of nouthfeel but smooth with this lingering bitterness that seems strange. Good bu not outstanding length. Very Good/Very Good Indeed. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

09/03 Penfolds Rawson's Retreat Shiraz Cabernet 2002
Last time I looked at this it was about £3.35, I'm sure it had the word "ruby" on it somewhere and was rubbish. My brother-in-law left a bottle in the house as a thank you present. "Thanks, Brian." I thought. "I know we don't get along - but to come to this..." Well, I was pleasantly surprised as its much better now. The first thing you notice is its in a seriously heavy bottle. It seems much darker and sweeter and packs a huge punch - 14.5% abv! I don't know what it costs - I'll bet £5.99 - and its ubiquitous. (Daron Fincham, UK)

09/03 1995 Tim Adams The Fergus
This Clare Valley (Australia) red is predominately Grenache with small amounts of Cab.Sauvignon, Cab. Franc, Shiraz and Malbec. A deep strawberry red with a pink rim. The soft eucalyptus mingles easily with the now delicate vanilla oak, red liquorice and earth. A velvet mouthfull of red fruits, and noticeable acidity gives this wine an acceptable finish. Drinking now, no need to wait. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/03 Yalumba 1998 Shiraz/Viognier
This wine kicked off the New World reds. Dark cherry with a very strong eucalyptus nose. Slightly sweet, rich, good background acidity, respectable length. An Aussie fruit/acid bomb? 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/03 Torbreck 1998 The Steading
Charles dabbles in the New World, and this is another example with this GSM blend. Deep strawberry, some alcohol and eucalyptus. Good background acidity, creamy. Good length, fruit is subtle (closed?). Much softer than I thought it would be, this seems almost tame. 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/03 Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz NV
Had had this before. Almost black colour, open-knit and immediately friendly nose. Sweet, jammy fruit, but one-dimensional and interesting mainly for its fizz. An interest that wears off, but this is not unpleasant! Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/03 Grange 1998
Very, very dark. Incredible, sexy nose. Eucalyptus, cassis, even cedar. Very young but sweet fruit and big, svelte tannins. Maybe not all that complex, but has amazing potential and must surely open up with perfect balance given time. Outstanding. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/03 Geelong 2001 Scotchmans Hill £12 (US$18)
This winery is located 50km south of Melbourne and was established in 1982. Strawberry red colour, the soft toasty oak intermingled well with the bright raspberry fruit. A soft mouthfeel with fruit and oak competing for the chance to impress my taste buds. A medium length finish with a non-fruit, lees/oak finish. With about 30 minutes of air, the fruit opened up, as did the acidity. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 1992 Penfolds Grange
Clear, deep purple core extending to dark ruby rim. Well formed tears on glass. Medium intensity nose, with a deep smell of blackberry, tar, leather and a hint of vanilla. Initially, the main impression was of quietly intense blackberry and spice flavours, with a fruit core enveloped by supple yet firm tannins and balanced acidity. This really opened up later to reveal opulent spice and wondeful layers of complex secondary flavours. Long, long length and exquisite balance of all sensations. Outstanding. Quite why this was so much better to me than last October, I have no idea. Decanted for 2 hours. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/03 Clarendon Hills 1996 Old Vine Grenache
This wine was made from fruit sourced from the Kangarilla Vineyard. A very dark plum red, this showed some eucalyptus on the very ripe nose. The palate - well this is going to be controversial. This fruit bomb with structure is an excellent example of a style of concentrated Grenache coming out of Australia in recent times. No doubt it is well made and of course taste comes down to personal opinion. Nigel said that it was “a tad vulgar”. I could just about manage to finish a measure in my glass. When I tried to wash down a piece of medium cooked steak with it, I struggled. Too sweet for a red wine to partner food for me. For my humble palate, 89/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 Burge Family 2000 Old Wines Garnacha
Dark plum purple, the nose was very strong in terms of eucalyptus. It was also very ripe and displayed some vanilla oakiness. Sweet, rich and ripe, this powerful wine is drinkable now but has the ability to age for a good 5-10 years. More balanced than the Clarendon Hills, just. 91/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 D'Arenburg 2000 Laughing Magpie
The back label of this wine was censored! What was all that about? A very dark plum red, it had a very ripe fruit dark fruits nose and some vanilla oak as well. Charles came out with one of the quotes of the evening when he described the nose as “a hint of koala bear”. An overripe syrah taste with new oak and ripe tannins, this wine fills a gap somewhere in the wine drinking hierarchy. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 1993
Barossa, 13.5% Worryingly, the cork crumbled away to nothing, though the reamins smelt clean enough. Vinous, slightly oaky nose. Very spicy, dry, nice tannins. Modest oak for a wine which had spent 30 months in American barrels [presumably not new?] Nutty and feels very pleasant in the mouth. Good length. the first decent Oz Shiraz I've opened for a few months - I'd alomost forgotten how good they can be! Excellent (Hugh Millar, UK)

07/03 Bindi original vineyard Pinot Noir 1997
Former'Dud of the year'of mine.However I had a case of the stuff and on advice from the winemaker, through the Forum,I waited another 15 months before opening this one. As always the wine had a wonderfully complex nose of sweet fruit and earthy damp truffles.This time the palate has opened a little to show very simple sweet fruit,boiled sweets and winter spangles,all very muted and restrained. Not a style I can appreciate certainly not at about £18.00 a bottle.This is very similar IMHO too a Garry Crittenden 'i' Sangiovese that I picked up recently for about a fiver at Costco (Don Reid, UK)

07/03 Maglieri (Australia) Shiraz 1993
This McClaren or is it McLaren? - I forget - Vale shiraz was all the rage not so long ago at the Chateau Fincham pig roasts. This time it was a wet and windy night and we were confined indoors. It was nice. Bit of oak, some spice but I still misidentified it for the Clare valley offering. 13.5% abv. £6.99 from Tesco ages ago (Daron Fincham, UK)

07/03 Leasingham (Australia) Shiraz 1993
Not the "Classic", just the bog standard Clare Valley bottling. A load of it was discounted in Oddbins a couple of years or more back. I tried one of the few I bought and thought it disjointed and poor. However, this time round it was the preferred wine by nearly everyone over the normally (to me) more trusty Maglieri. Nice restrained nose but a much sweeter palate than I remembered. 13.5% again £6.99 a while back. (Daron Fincham, UK)

07/03 E&E Black pepper shiraz 1996
Half a glass of this was as much as I could comfortably manage,and I like big Aussie reds! This wine is huge,like trying to swallow an anvil, there is fruit/alcohol/tannin and oak but all in massive quantities and all fighting, to my mind, one against the other. This wine will never be subtle but hopefully it will manage to integrate with time. For my money that could take at least another five years. (Don Reid, UK)

07/03 1999 Primo Estate "Joseph" Cabernet Merlot
Double decanted a few hours before drinking, and much the better for it. Deep crimson/purple in colour. An enticing nose of kirsch and prune intermingled with spice and slight hints of char, all of which follow through on the satin silky smooth full bodied palate. It may be slightly flashy, but is no worse for it. Rated as outstanding and ridiculously good value for money when bought on discount for £13. One of the best reds to pass my lips this year. (Phil Shorten, UK)

07/03 Yalumba 'The Signature' 1993
A Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend from Barossa & McLaren Vale. Inky deep purple. The nose - well the oak is obviously the beacon - but nice & sweet while the fruit layers underneath were simply outstanding & quite frankly there is no getting away from that. Masses & masses of blackcurrant, clove, eucalyptus, aniseed, sweet cocoa, vanilla & secondary notes of a young sweet meat quality & almost leathery complexity. The palate (if you like this sort of thing) is equally manly. Just lashings of vibrant plum & ripe black fruit, truffle, raisin, black pepper & coffee. Finishes with grippy tannins, huge concentration & reasonable length with some amounts of acid still kicking in. Although not the greatest wine on the planet it certainly has a place on it even if austerity is not taken into account. An experience to drink at 10 and will perhaps perform true to the way it was made for another 5-8 years IMO. Big, bold & still beautiful. 13.5%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/03 Leasingham 'Classic Clare' Shiraz 1993
From the Clare Valley. Medium/deep purple. A much more feminine nose while still being a little larger than life while still retaining some modicum of elegance. Violet & spicy anise appear before the American oak on this occasion - beautiful & textured following with very ripe, almost pureed raspberry, cracked black pepper, ripe prune fruit, minty dark chocolate & savoury spice. Follows through with a structured palate of immensity & seamless concentration combining the oak with malty notes and ripe prune & mulberry fruit, raspberry, black pepper & vanilla with secondary hints of tar, saffron & dried fruit with tamarind tints. Finishes dry though with still grippy tannins but with low levels of acidity but should be OK for another 3-5 years before decline if properly cellared. Perhaps an undervalued wine IMO but this is lovely and well worth the 10 year wait. Classic is perhaps a strong definition but Classic Clare perhaps sums up this wine well. 14%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/03 Henschke Mt Edlestone 1991
Brick red with some signs of maturity on the rim. A nose to savour, complex & intense, and just chock full of spicy anise, liquorice, small berry fruit, cocoa, bramble & some herb plus a hint of coconut. The palate just exacerbates this glorious sensation with ripe blackberry, black pepper, aniseed, dried meaty notes, smoke, clove & vanilla. I particularly love the dense mid palate. Finishing long with focused concentration & lively but silky tannins and still refreshing acidity. Any criticism could be the slightly hot note (14%abv). A stunning & almost mature wine to drink while still perhaps 5 years from its peak with well cellared bottles - of which this was. Lovely & beautifully complex stuff indeed. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/03 Rockford Black Shiraz. Disgorged September 1998
Firstly, I opened this wine far too cold (that’s the wine, not me!) which was a big mistake. Best to serve at 12/14ish Celsius or much warmer than straight from the fridge. Good deep red. An alluring perfume ripe red & black fruits on the nose with a rather sensationally good de-glazed meat-roasting pan feel with anise spice, ripe plum, raspberry, roasted mushroom & hints of oak. Fine savoury meaty/gamey character on the palate with raspberry, liquorice & creamy blackberry with a lovely spicy bittersweet finish while still remaining fresh & vibrant. A rich wine with a lovely fine mousse finishing with huge length and cleansing acidity. My last of two bottles bought quite a few years ago-although not cheap, the first drunk far to young. I was amazed at actually how Shiraz like it was and as a ‘fine’ Shiraz too boot! A top act and perhaps the benchmark Oz red sparkler. High quality stuff indeed. A long evolution can be expected with this wine. Top marks! 13.5%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/03 2001 Bethany Grenache
This is almost "see-thru" compared to the above. Nose is pure raspberries and cream. In the mouth more raspberries and summer fruit, almost a liquid summer pudding with a dollop of cream. Finish is smooth with fruit all the way plus a background of biscuits and cedar. V.Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

06/03 1991 Wolf Blass Black Label Cab/Shiraz
Colour is good showing shades of Tawny to the rim. Very leggy/viscous. Nose is creamy berry fruit with a touch of perfumed cedar, a background of mint, spice and tobacco. This is not a "jammy" number but is finely integrated with an almost sweet vanillin oak, smoothly structured. Finish is fruit dominated and very smooth. Not over the hill and good for at least 2/3 years. V.V. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

06/03 Rosemount 1993 Balmoral Shiraz
Believe this was the 2nd vintage. Came to my notice first about 6/7 years ago when it was the top shiraz in a Wine Magazine tasting, beating such greats as Grange, HOG and Guigal. Bought some at auction recently for around 12,50 GBP per bottle. Nose is initially a bit closed, but opens up with some subtle liquorice and a touch of oak. Colour is a good, opaque purple, with perhaps just a trace of brown around the edge. In the mouth its sublime. Unlike any young Balmoral I've tried, its not the power that hits, but the balance. The fruit is very concentrated and there are lots of black berry and liquorice flavours, enhanced with just a touch of pepper. The wine coats the mouth and gives a very long, warm finish. Really, really great wine and one that needs to be drunk over the next 5 years. If you beleive Halliday, this isn't one of the great Balmorals, so I imagine the 95,96 and 98 wines will need at least about 15 years before you try one. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

06/03 Lindemans Hunter Valley Shiraz 1970 Bin 4110
Good garnet/purple colour. Compelling smoky bacon nose. Rich, slightly hot and liqueurish fruit. Very warm and cosseting finish. Touch of volatility emerges over time (but not, to my palate, to quite the "Musar"esque level proposed by Joel). VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/03 Yering Station Pinot Noir, Victoria 2000
Lightish red colour. Typical New World Pinot fruit on the nose, sweet and ripe, strong notes of black cherries and nicely integrated oak (?). Bit of farmyard. Very drinkable, but slightly hot finish. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/03 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1987
Only just showing signs of age, which for a sixteen year old Coonawarra from a stand off vintage is, IMO, some feat being deep purple with a brick red rim. The nose however is all chocolate & prune although with good ceder & roasted meaty notes. The palate is extremely ripe with still concentrated blackcurrant, coffee, meat & well… not much else, especially secondary. Tannins persist although softening with a moderate finish. Oh yes, the oak is also there & more prevalent than expected. The weird thing is the extremely (black) peppery after taste, which if there wasn't the hit of cedar on the nose would, blind, be a big Shiraz to me. Weird, truly weird. Just a bit too beefed up & meaty for me on this bottle although some airtime slightly improved the wine. 13%abv. (Phil Wilkins , UK)

06/03 1992 Elderton 'Command' Shiraz
Where do I start with this but oak-o-phobes be afraid of this one, be very afraid. It is on mammoth proportions with the oak treatment & must rate as 11/10 on the amp front here! Still deep crimson & showing no sign of age. The nose is just pure vanilla, chocolate & mulberry with waves of highly concentrated sweet (perhaps this is the oak) red & black fruits, coffee, black pepper and liquorice. The extremely powerful palate is, well, like licking a plank while showing some beautiful fruit qualities underneath. If it wasn't for the massive oak treatment then this would be a glorious pure, minerally, fruit driven wine with its still ripe tannins & cutting acidity. Alas though the oak kills it. Pity, as it could have been a great wine. 14.5%abv (Phil Wilkins , UK)

06/03 1993 Wirra Wirra Vineyard Series Kuitpo Shiraz
Not sure of the history of these wines but Oddbins in the UK stocked these some years back. Perhaps the Vineyard Series is a export only label & I don't know if this project is still running or even when it started. The wine however is in a restrained/elegant style and the only '93 South Australian wine I've really enjoyed in recent years. Still deep purple with red rim showing dark cherry, brambly & pepper like fruit notes with touches of cedar, liquorice & lanolin. The drink itself is quite restrained with dark cherry & mulberry pure fruit notes, lovely savoury cedary French oak, still fine tannins & a good very dry finish with touches of underlying secondary characteristics. Not a bad drop although not overly complex and still a little understated but of great character. Enjoy over the next 3 years. 13.5%abv. (Phil Wilkins , UK)

06/03 Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 1994
If I had to vote for the darkest looking 9-year-old wine on the planet then this would be it! An almost opaque saturated purple with no bricking. The nose is extremely intense with just tons of plum, blackberry, meat, eucalyptus, rustic leather and smoky oak. A massive concentrated & seamless palate of mammoth proportions with tons of tannin still left and the oaks certainly helping all that brambly fruit (nothing jammy about this) with truck loads of liquorice, pepper, spice, prune, meat & mineral following with a still rock solid backbone. I wonder if this will ever settle down but it's drinking well now. Just amazingly youthful for an Oz wine of this age. A big, gutsy, ultra concentrated & still tightly wound wine and extremely well made. 14%abv (Phil Wilkins , UK)

06/03 Coriole Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 1993
Soft and flabby although with rich fruit and a good blackness to it but zero tannins or acid. Poor. 14%abv. What a difference! (Phil Wilkins , UK)

05/03 Chateau Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz 1999
A reasonable nose of spice and plums perhaps with a hint of cherry. On the palate a big wine! Considerable tannins slug it out with the fruit. The finish is long with chocolate and spice overtones. Although I like young wines I think this pleasurable wine needed 2/3 more years at least. However it was more enjoyable now with a mild prawn curry. (Nick Whiteley, UK)

05/03 Wirra Wirra Penley Cabernet 1998, 14%
Meant to open a bottle of the Allawah Grenache, but got the contents of the cellar mixed up. If Isabel is the reference point for NZ Sauv, then this must be the same for Auz Cabernet. Maximum marks from Halliday, this is as good a Cabernet as I have ever tried. The nose just hits you seductive blackcurrant fruit, oak and mineral. It's a wine that can only be sipped at the moment due to the intense concentrated cassis fruit augmented by well judged spicy oak. Finish is very, very long. Won't touch another bottle for a couple of years. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

05/03 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth 1991
Deep brick red & fading rim. Stunning nose of classic Cabernet with minerally black fruits, smoky edged cedar, spice, cigar box, tealeaf with hints of animal and a splash of mint. Outstanding silky mouthfeel follows showing leafy blackcurrant, dark chocolate, liquorice & supporting secondary characteristics. Finishing with fine, still firm tannins, good supporting acid and a long lingering balanced finish. A very sophisticated wine & a wonderful drinking experience. To be honest I was expecting a rather more oaky/porty/over extracted experience.. but a very pleasant no to that! Truly lovely and I'm glad I put this away for the last 9 years and should go for a few years yet – although not in my house. 13% abv and from a very underrated Oz winery IMO (esp the First Growth). (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/03 Pemberton Salitage 1995
Very dark. Curious smell of Sauerkraut initially, then chocolatey notes, maybe a touch green. Palate also a little green, tannins a touch underripe maybe, bit minty too. Goodish Bordeuax blend but not really my style. (Stephan Muller, UK)

04/03 1998 Chapel Hill, The Vicar
From Magnum. Deep garnet. High redtones against a deeper 'pencil-lead' background. Concentrated with lots of tannin and good acidity. The fruit stays long on the mouth thanks to the clinging tannin. Not exceptional, but very good all the same. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/03 1999 Clarendon Hills, Liandra Maclaren Vale Shiraz
Medium-plus ruby colour. There's a lovely blackberry core to the nose which also comes through on the palate. Fine tannins and good acidity coupled with above average length make this a very fine shiraz. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/03 Penfolds Grange 1981
Quite dark colour, maturing at rim. Nose initially a bit dusty, but then revealing lithe, elegant notes of bitter chocolate and liquorice. Palate leathery, touch sweaty, with dusty, grippy, old-world tannins. Lovely concentration on mid-palate, but I'm struggling a bit with the leaner, leathery aspects of the flavour profile. Can't believe this is 20 years old though! My first Grange. (Stephan Muller, UK)

03/03 Voyager Estate 2001 Shiraz
Pepper, blueberries and vanilla oak nose. Spicy plum palate. Some very good fruit here. Powdery tannins. Very good stuff. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Voyager Estate 1999 Cabernet/Merlot
Savoury nose showing black olive, cedar, dusty berries and cherry and a fair dash of poo. Palate much better. Loads of dark berry/cherry and chocolate. Full body. Firm tannins. I suspect some bottle variation or a bacterial fault with this wine as has been much much better before. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Leeuwin Estate 2001 Pinot Noir
The last of the line. Bright cherry and apricot nose. Pure fruit driven wine with sweet cherry, spicy, good acidity and fine tannins. Very pleasant simple fruity drink and I like it a lot for this reason. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Leeuwin Estate 2000 Shiraz
Sweet (slightly confected) raspberries and smokey slightly gamey nose. Savoury palate. Not much fruit weight. Fine drying tannins. Not bad. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Leeuwin Estate 1997 Cabernet
Red fruit, cassis, cedar, and very very horsey. Savoury horsy palate with ripe plum and cassis. Fine tannins and very elegant. I suspect this bottle was faulty but did not try at cellar door when offered. Should have. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Leeuwin Estate 1998 Cabernet
Ripe red fruit (almost strawberry), cedar, slightly leafy with tobacco notes. Delightful tasty redcurrant palate with fine tannins. Finishes well with a savoury twist. Lovely elegant fruit forward cabernet. Very good drinking right now. Good kit. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Leeuwin Estate 1999 Cabernet (not yet released)
Much darker and more serious than the 98. Opened up quite savoury with dark fruits but constant agitation (I am a renowned fidget) revealed the true nature of the wine. Sweet perfumed red fruit (cranberry, redcurrant) with cedar, crushed leaf and some savoury notes. Big wine with a concentrated and ripe palate with blackcurrant/red fruit flavours. Good structure. Persistent. Very nice. Should age very well. Top drawer stuff but a moving target during tasting. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Brothers 2000 Cellar Door Red
Red cherry/strawberry char vanilla oak. Palate same. Medium body. OK (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Brothers 2000 Cabernet Merlot
VA, red fruit/vanilla oak. Redcurrent palate. Medium body. Decent finish. Not worth the asking price of around $30. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Lenton Brae 2001 Cabernet Merlot
Earthy dusty plum and vanilla nose. Bitter tannins. Green and under fruited. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Lenton Brae 1999 Margaret River – Bordeaux blend
Oak/rhubarb/plum spicy aromatics with vanilla and chocolate. Good fruit and ripe tannin. Persistent. Young yet. I bought 6 of these last year at CD but now wonder about the level of oak. Good wine though. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Gralyn 2002 Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon
Bright sweet berry fruit. More summer fun. Not unlike a 2lt Renmano cask of Cab Sauv. $25. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Gralyn 2000 Old Vine Shiraz
Savoury chocolate/coffee oak, earth , plenty of concentrated dark cherry and black fruit. Hot and earthy on the palate with plenty of dark cherry/blackberry fruit. Hot. Tannins plus. Persistent. Big. I would not want to drink it but can see the attraction. At $90 you can keep it. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Gralyn 2000 Shiraz/Cabernet
Black fruit + oak + chocolate. That about sums it up. This was the best out of the three. Really nice wine. I like Cabernet/Shiraz big. I think that is sort of the point of it….but give me three bottles of '98 389 instead. $90. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Gralyn 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sweet cherry/blackcurrant nose savoury oak. Huge ripe fruit and savoury oak palate. Ripe powdery tannins. Persistence that is quite incredible. Uber cabernet. It certainly is something but not for me…I'll take a Moss Wood thanks all the same. $90 (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2001 Frankland Riesling
Lime/light kero toasty notes. Plenty of acidity. OK (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2002 Rose (Cabernet Franc)
Strawberry/cherries/cream. Nice acid/sweetness balance. I could drink this. Simple but nice. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2001 Secession Red (Shiraz/Cab)
Red berry and pepper. Clean and fruity. Spicy red berry palate with spice and a nice savoury balance. Good finish. This over delivers at $14. Smart. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2002 Secession Merlot
Dusty lightly earthy cherry and plum. Acid. Too savoury. Pass. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2001 Normans Encounter Bay Shiraz
Jammy plum/cherry and vanilla. Ripe jammy fruit. Soft. Crowd pleaser. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2001 Xanadu Shiraz (50/50 Frankland/MR)
White pepper, spice and brambly fruit. Savoury oak. Nicely done and quite enjoyable. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2001 Frankland River Reserve Shiraz
Dark. Pepper/Spice/Blackfruit/Licorice/Oak. Bursting with concentrated blackfruit with licorice flavours. Savoury oak. Fine powdery tannins. Balance. Tasty. Classic Gt Southern shiraz. Cracking good stuff. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 1999 Normans Chais Clarendon Cabernet Sauvignon
Ripe blackberry/blackcurrant loaded up with vanilla oak. Big plummy mouthful of big grippy mouth coating tannins. Big. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 2000 Xanadu Cabernet
Lifted nose of redfruit and cedar pencilly oak. Good fruit. Enjoyable well made cabernet. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 1998 Lagan Estate Cabernet Blend
Ripe perfumed spicy nose of blackcurrant with dusty cedar and lead pencil. Lovely ripe deep blackcurrant palate with nice dusty tannins. Great oak handling. Slightly hot. Great persistence. Really very good. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Xanadu 1999 Lagan Estate Cabernet Blend (Not released)
Black. Dusty cedar/pencil. Blackberry/Tar/Spice (aniseed). Incredible depth of fruit. Concentrated. Immense. Flavours of bay leaf and ripe black fruit. Lots of ripe gravelly tannins. The fruit in this is something else. Needs 10 years. What a classic. They were even kind enough to pour us two big glasses to have with lunch. Knockout cabernet. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2002 Pinot Noir – (Barrel)
Really bright cherry/strawberry fruit. Fruit plus! Not much else to say. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2000 Pinot Noir
Cherry/sappy/spicy/herbal. Much more reserved. Enjoyed this very much. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2002 Ribbon Vale Merlot (Barrel)
Bright plum and earth fruit. Firm and savoury on the palate. Shows promise. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2000 Ribbon Vale Merlot
Earth and gamey leafy notes. Drying. Not much fruit. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2002 Ribbon Vale Cabernet Merlot (Barrel)
Can't read my notes much here. Something about sweet, good fruit. Sorry. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2002 Glenmore Vineyard Cabernet (Barrel)
Cassis/Savoury/Olive. Redfruit and blackcurrant palate. Tannins + but not terribly attractive. Interesting. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Moss Wood 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (Barrel)
Wow. Minty/Cassis/Crushed Leaf. Elegant. Ripe silky slinky tannins (marked contrast to the Glenmore). Flavour and persistence plus. Speechless. A personal highlight. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Cape Mentelle 2001 Sangiovese
Cherry/savoury/earth. Leather savoury cherry palate. Quite varietal. Pretty good. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Cape Mentelle 2001 Shiraz
Spice, berries and pepper nose. Savoury palate with good deep fruit flavour. Tannins good. I think this is a beauty if you like the style and I do. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Cape Mentelle 2001 Zinfandel
Bright plum, spice with choc/vanilla. Fruity palate with spicy cherry and chocolate. Seems almost elegant compared to the 2000. I liked this a lot too. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Donnelly River 2001 Pinot – Pemberton
Cherry/strawberry and sweet malt vinegar. Palate dominated by malt vinegar. Duff bottle most likely….well lets hope. Nice on chips though. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
On the wine list at winos and served at about 42c. After dropping it in the ice bucket the wine turned out to be full of blackcurrant and cholocs. Ripe with resolved tannins and drinking well now. Most pleasant. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 2001 Cape Mentelle Shiraz
Very smokey savoury nose of smoked oysters and bacon over pepper and berries. The palate has good fruit but also very savoury and smokey. Oak supporting not dominant. This seems almost completely different to the wine tried at CD in February. Just a bit to pooey and savoury for my tastes but some Rhone fanciers may just love it. Not buying. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 1998 Murdock Cabernet
Blackcurrent and chocolate with some smoke/gamey/farmyardy notes. Very nice ripe (but not overripe) mouthfilling fruit again with just a dash of farmyard/gaminess on the palate. Finishes long. The savoury notes were a bit of a suprise in a Coonawarra but very good wine. Drinking quite well now. Perhaps not a long term wine. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 1998 DeBortoli Melba (100% cabernet savuvignon)
Super intense perfumed cassis nose. Lots of cedar. Chocolate comes out with airtime. Some savoury wet undergrowth/leafy notes lurking in the background. Palate shows sweet ripe cassis fruit. Not dominated by oak. Tannins initally gravelly but softened down to being quite fine with time in the glass. This is a super cabernet if you like sweet cassis and cedar style cabernet. Still a baby. (Gary Walsh, Australia)

03/03 1991 Rosemount Reserve Shiraz
The wine that was to become the Balmoral. A lot of sediment. Quite opaque colour - cherry red. Nose had some leather touches to begin with, but this faded quickly to be replaced by liquorice. This was the dominant feature of the wine, and was supported by red berry flavours. Tannins had softened and this was a delightful, refined glass with a long finish. Given the initial leather on the nose, I'd keep it a bit longer to see what other flavours develop. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

03/03 Henry's Drive 2000 Shiraz
Big, dense, purple. Nose of pepper and liquorice, but not too oaky. In the mouth the balance of the wine hits you immediately. Yip, there are layers and layers of thick, rich, cherry fruit and liquorice, but the wine is perfectly balanced and the whole thing finishes dry and long. Terrific stuff and one of those wines where you don't really care if it can age or not. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

03/03 Sepplet - show sparkling shiraz – 1987
Clear ruby to garnet = ripe black cherries on the nose with rich cassis. Rich round mousse on the palate with loads of ripe berries even a touch of prune. Long finish a great wine and my first sparkling shiraz. (Jason Froman, UK)

03/03 Penfolds Grange 1971
This was an experience – the cork was perfect with hints of what was to come! The colour was an intense brick garnet, the nose was sweet earthy notes, truffles and prunes with chocolate, very complex new nuances with every sniff. The palate was opulent prunes and truffles with chocolaty notes incredibly full with velvety tannins. Loooong finish – a truly great wine, as a new enthusiast I was in awe of this – a true benchmark in my tasting experience. (Jason Forman, UK)

03/03 Mount Mary Vineyard – Lillypale Cabernet 1986
Deep garnet colour. An earthy vegetal nose with a lanolin undertow. Fruitcake with earthy truffles on the palate, very well balanced with a good finish. (Jason Forman, UK)

03/03 Penfolds 1997 Bin 389 (S.Australia) £15 (US$23)
This 14% blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz had been matured in new American oak. My double decanting procedure revealed plenty of sediment caking the inside of the bottle. This opaque wine smelled strongly of vanilla, alcohol and eucalyptus, drowning out most of the berry fruits. The sweet tasting juice was mildly rich, plenty of inaction on the mid palate and a disappointing finish. I expected more of this wine, maybe a 'lighter' year. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/03 Henschke 'Museum Release Cabernet Sauvignon' 1976
This bottling was only sold to the UK via their importers and cellared at Henschke under ideal conditions and released in 1996. Part of 200 case trial wine made by (Cyril?) Henschke and now known today as 'Cyril Henschke'. Weighing in at 11%abv, with new corks, labels & foil. Interesting to note though, that the fruit was from vines that were only 8 years old and the whole thing didn't fall apart over 2 hours. Medium brick red holding at the rim remarkably well! Fine cigar box, red currant, raspberry with a hint of eucalyptus & mushroom, quite feminine really compared to most modern brusers. The palate initially not showing the promise of the nose although after 30 minutes it opens right out with fully mature velvety red sweet fruits, some acidity, fine tannins & moderate although persistent finish. Not a great wine but a part of Henschke history but what was wonderful, is that this 27 year old trial wine that's still just holding up. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/03 Henschke 'Hill of Grace' 1977
This bottle was a museum release and part of the 'Henschke Quality Assurance Programme in 1994' ie tasted, toped up & recorked. No %abv was stated but judging on how leg-less I was after the bottle it was probably around the 12% point. Medium red browning rim. The nose suggests complex spicy anise, pruny, meaty, earthy aromas, touches of briar, raspberry & liquorice and savoury secondary characters. The follow through is moderate with some interesting although fading red fruits, reasonable acidity and slight tannins. Unlikely to improve and quite honestly, at least five years into decline. A curiosity for me now. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/03 Henschke 'Cyril Henschke Commemorative Release' 1978
The original cork, capsule & label fill still into neck. Bizarrely, the top of the foil was embossed "Henschke – Barossa Valley", which is truly weird as the vineyard is in the Eden Valley or is Keyneton in the Barossa? Also interesting to note that this vintage won the Pat Browne trophy for the "Best Commercial Burgundy" on show at the Adelaide WS, 1979!! No mention of the %abv again on this but it is the first ever commercial release of this wine. Brick red with slight orange to the rim. Quite an amazing youthful nose on this 25 year old Oz showing cedar, spicy anise, raspberry, some cranberry, cocoa & clove with touches of mushroom & liquorice. Lovely (& suprising) concentration on the palate with sweet cassis, spice, bitter chocolate & liquorice with still lively acidity, slightly bitter tannins and finishing with good balanced length. This bottle showed better on the day than the other previous four bottles consumed over the years. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/03 Henschke Mt Edlestone 1986
Medium purple/crimson. The Eden Valley (although the label says it's from the Barossa Valley) 'flytox' spice positively leaps out of the bottle as soon as it's opened. Gorgeous. The nose is full of spicy anise, ripe red fruits, dark chocolate & violet with liquorice, leather, tar & bramble. Seductive & subtle palate showing spiced blackberry fruits, pepper, grilled game, herby complexity & minerals with a beautiful long & satisfying finish. A wonderfully structured & amazing wine which seems to be holding forever. Not a blockbuster but a stunning subtle Oz Shiraz. 12.4%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/03 Henschke 'Cyril Henschke' 1988
95% Cabernet/5% Merlot. Wow this is a stunner. Absolutely everything in place with this one. Medium purple fading to brick red. Fabulous & elegant nose of tobacco, violet, sweet blackcurrant, spiced cherry, dark plum, truffles, undergrowth & grilled meat traces following with rich concentrated savoury black fruits, silky tannins, cleansing acidity, beautifully balanced French oak & a long, long lingering finish. This has got to be is the finest Oz Cabernet I've ever consumed & has quite a few years to go although I'll be drinking all mine the next chance I get. 13% abv. Outstanding. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/03 1998 Bannockburn shiraz, Geelong, Victoria
Aromatic nose with spice and smoke. Not as open or expressive as the 1997. Smooth fruit and oak balance with well-balanced palate and finish throughout. More Oz-like than the 1997, less so than most Australian wines. Very Good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

03/03 1996 Rockford, SVS Hoffmann Barossa Shiraz
Wow ! Saturated ruby. A nose of caramel, coffee and big, very black fruits. The palate is full-on, concentrated blackberry with a roasted fruit undertone. The acidity helps the caramel finish go longer and the thick velvety tannins also help the fruit cling to the inside of your mouth. Very well balanced when compared to the '96 Moorooroo SVS and probably even better than the '97 Hoffmann SVS. Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 2000 Dalwhinne, Moonambel Shiraz
Very deep colour, highlights of crimson at the rim. The nose is high toned with lots of ripe blackberry. The palate shows fine acidity together with black and blue berry fruit. The tannins are grainy with plenty of grab. This is a lovely wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 1998 Rockford, Basket Press Shiraz
From a half bottle with a disappointingly small 'aggregate' cork. Very deep garnet colour, almost to the rim. Nose is alcoholic and very port-like, perhaps a slight oxidised tone. It's complex though, with cooking plums and caramel too. The palate has well covered acidity and tannin plus satisfying length. I'm not keen on the nose but a very good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 2000 Shingleback, McLaren Vale Shiraz
Full, dark colour, some cherry at the rim. The nose is sweetly oaked and low toned, almost beetroot with blackcurrant. The palate is reasonably concentrated and very smooth - manages to do a good job of hiding the structure, just seems to lack a little interest. Very good length. Still, definitely an above average wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/03 Veritas Heysen Shiraz 2000 (Barossa)
What a great wine, full of oak, friut and spice, young and still settling down but all the better for it. This vintage is not 1998 which is of blockbusting proportions, but the lighter(relative) style makes this more enjoyable. To compare it to the Elderton shiraz 1998 that I had last week, I would say one glass of that was enough(although a very good wine), where as the heysen is a by the bottle wine. (Russ Sainty, UK)

03/03 d'Arenberg Coppermine Road 1996
The cork was black and the wine a deep dark purple. Intense fresh fruit aromas on opening lifted quickly leaving oaky and alcoholic smells. Excellent fruit concentration with charry oak, good tannic structure, very alcoholic and sweet, long finish. A decent wine but not a style I would buy again, simply too sweet and alcoholic (14.5%) for my taste. (Charles Adams, UK)

03/03 Ralphs Shiraz 1990
Lovely mature plummy chocolate nose with some spice and a touch of earth. Quite elegant. Very concentrated plum and black fruit palate. Still ripe but elegant, not overblown. Some soft tannins remaining but well integrated. Very little sign of the American oak used. Hints of earthy, mint and truffle. Seductive. Very long finish. Everything belies the wines age. Still plenty of life although wonderful now. (Marcus, UK)

02/03 Chateau Reynella Cabernet Merlot 1994
As Eminem would say "I'm cleaning out my closet." And found this. So I put it up against another CSG from the same year. No contest! The Reynella lost. Its just a bit dull. One blast of mint upon opening then nothing much else happened. Its very dark in colour but seems to lack the subtlety of the French wine. It doesn't cleanse the palate. 14.0% abv. Sainsbury's £10-ish. (Daron Fincham, UK)

02/03 1998 Tatachilla, Foundation McLaren Vale Shiraz
Very deep, virtually saturated garnet, only slightly lighter at the rim. Nose is deep and chocolatey, covering summer pudding fruit. The palate is thick, showing excellent acidity and very furry tannins. There's fantastic concentration of virtually blackened plums. The finish is extra long (if a little bitter) thanks to those tannins clinging to the sides of your mouth. For under £15 (locally) this is pretty good value, but a bit of a joke at UK rrp - I think David Pearce told me the official importers are looking for closer £40. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 1996 Rockford, SVS Moorooroo Barossa Shiraz
Medium-plus ruby colour, not so saturated as the 1997 (Hoffmann) Special Vineyard Selection. Sweet cocoa and cream, lifted (alcoholic) stewing plums and raspberry at the top end provides an interesting nose. The palate is much more concentrated than the colour suggests but seems a little dissjointed. Good acidity with controlled medium weight tannin, perhaps not the depth of the 1997 SVS. Certainly a very good wine but if you have the option, take the 1997 in preference. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 D'Arenberg 1998 Dead Arm Shiraz
A rogue Aussie wine from Sophie Williams, this split the tasters. Having already bought some bottles of this 96 Parker pointer on the strength of previous vintages that I had collected, I knew what to expect. It did not surprise me. Black to the eye, it smelled of ripe fruit and alcohol. It tasted like a very ripe and alcoholic fruit bomb, with a long seamless finish. I must say I can drink a couple of glasses but would struggle after that, even with food. 92/100, but is definitely a blockbuster new world style . (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 St Jakobi Shiraz 1999, Dutschke
Based in the Barossa valley. Meant to be a lighter vintage so perfect excuse to open one up. Lots of oak on the nose, and in the mouth its pretty noticable. Good purple colour, the wine has lots of dark cherry flavours and is very, very concentrated. The oak is dominating at the moment, but its still pretty hard to put the glass down. Good wine that needs more time. God knows what the 98 must be like. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/03 Shingleback 1998 Shiraz
Based in the Maclaren Vale. Dark, dark purple colour. Spicy oak on the nose, but its not overdone. The wine just hangs in the glass and looks a typical, black Auz monster. In the mouth the wine is however wonderfully balanced. Wow, this is why we collect wine. The spicyness of the oak complements the great black fruit and liquorice flavours. Still seems to be in a bit of a dumb phase, and I am sure there is a lot more to come. Good, long finish. Need to be decanted. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

02/03 1999 Baraks Bridge Pinot Noir
Fresh fruit and raspberry flavours, with fruity nose, showing hints of smoke. Very well balanced and enjoyable, showing good structure. Very good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

01/03 2001 Seville Estate, Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Good stinky/earthy nose with some mature undergrowth elements that are very surprising for such a young wine. Palate full bodied and oaky, with a spicy "mulled wine" finish. Hasn't heard of the word "finesse", but judged for flavour, its good stuff. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 2000 Ashton Hills Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Forgot to write any notes for this, but I remember liking it a lot: great fruit intensity, nice voluptuous mouthfeel, enough acidity to stop it being cloying. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 St Hallett Faith Shiraz 2001
Welcoming soft nutmeggy nose. On the palate, lots of sweet chocolate and cherry, rich soft and velvetty mid-palate, but then the spiky acidity hits and spoils the soft sensations. After a while (if you relax and stop concentrating) you forget the acidity again as the velvet glove envelopes you again. Very 'come hither', but after a while you feel it's beating you round the head with a big cushion. If you restrain yourself to one glass, G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 Penfolds 1992 Old Vine Mouvedre/Grenache/Shiraz
The inaugural vintage of this Chateauneuf du Pape type blend that I bought in 1995 for £8 (US$12). Double decanting revealed a light sediment. I have deliberately aged this for longer than advised to see what would happen. A deep velvet red with a dark cinnamon rim. The eucalyptus and saddle leather nose introduced this mini powerhouse of a wine. The ripeness of the 1992 vintage in the Barossa was quite evident as the wine had a semi sweet smooth taste. A very decent finish tailed off nicely. This wine delivered credible pleasure for a modest price. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Tim Adams 1995 The Fergus (Clare Valley) - £8.50 (US$13)
Straight out of the bottle, this ruby red wine has started to turn brown at the edges. The spicy and peppery nose gave a hint as to its Rhone style blend, while the noticeable eucalyptus stamped its Australian roots in my nostrils. Sweet, rich yet restrained, this highly enjoyable wine gave me value for money enjoyment. Time to drink my remaining bottles and revisit my 1994's. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Tim Adams 1995 The Fergus (Clare Valley) - £8.50 (US$13)
Straight out of the bottle, this ruby red wine has started to turn brown at the edges. The spicy and peppery nose gave a hint as to its Rhone style blend, while the noticeable eucalyptus stamped its Australian roots in my nostrils. Sweet, rich yet restrained, this highly enjoyable wine gave me value for money enjoyment. Time to drink my remaining bottles and revisit my 1994's. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Rothbury Estate 1994 Reserve Shiraz (Hunter Valley) - £9 (US$14)
Made from dry grown old vines aged in American oak, this wine was bottled unfiltered. Deep strawberry red, starting to turn brown at the edges. The nose is both peppery and shows some eucalyptus but is pleasant. The soft mouthfeel displays it Shiraz roots, with dark fruits and pepper intermingling well with the sweet oak. The finish is reasonable but soon forgotten. I did expect a tad more concentration but at this price it is no real letdown. IMO, if you have any bottles in your cellar, it's time to drink up. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 St Hallet 1993 Old Block Shiraz (Tanunda) - £12 (US$18)
80-100 year old Shiraz vines, spending 2 ½ years in US oak. The colour was a deep cherry red with a medium pink rim. The strong smell of vanilla oak with black forest fruits like blackberries. A sweet mouthfeel with persistent black fruits and a smooth finish that goes on for a respectable length of time. Enjoyed by all and still tastes young. IMO, this could age for another 3-5 years. The 1992, which I tried 6 months ago, tastes even younger. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Rosemount Traditional 1999
Not really fair drinking this after the Chave, but it coped reasonably well. Typically dark purple colour, very fruity nose, big, fruity palate if a bit oaky for my tastes. Very Good. (Mark Pearce, UK)

01/03 Leeuwin Pinot Noir Art Series I think 1997
Beautiful nose of red fruit, strawberry, some mocha note, not able to detect any gamey, animal, wet forest type burgundian note. Tasted sweet, no tannin, somewhat a vague finish. It is not short but perhaps due to the lack of tannin, not a substantial appreciation of tannin. Not bad for about 20 USD all in again from Winebid. (Roland Leung, Hong Kong)

01/03 Veritas Cuvee Heinrich Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2001
Deep red-purple. Smoky tangy nose with cloves and spice. Nice fresh acidity, silky mid-palate texture, smoky/spicy but gentle too. Nonetheless, a bit of structure/grip one doesn't expect from Veritas perhaps. Very satisfying and VG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 2001 Simon Hackett, Clare Valley Shiraz
Deep saturated colour, some purple at the rim. Nose has traces of wood and vanilla behind big ripe fruits. The palate is smooth, with persistent fruit, good acidity and tannin, just finishing with vanilla again, but very well integrated. Over Christmas, this was second only to the considerably more expensive Knappstein Enterprise Shiraz. Very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/03 2000 Peter Lehmann, Barrossa Shiraz
Hard to definitively rate this wine. The first examples I tasted (2 bottles) had superb Barrossa aromatics and were thick, chocolatey and very tasty. Subsequently I took advantage of the 3 for £20 offer in Oddbins (UK) and found all three of these bottles more subdued and less interesting - though still perfectly acceptable. I will assume I'm at fault here as they are a bit young to have suffered from bad storage, perhaps I was more desperate when I drank the first ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/03 1998 Knappstein, Enterprise Shiraz
The first vintage of this I tasted was the 1995. I found that one overly peppery and not as good as the price suggested. This one is deeply garnet coloured. The nose is a little peppery, but not overly so. The palate has lovely dense fruit coupled with good acidity and furry tannins. Nice length too. A very good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/03 1999 d'Arenberg, The Custodian Grenache
I've still some the 1996 in the cellar which is currently a bit 'unbalanced'. This one is medium-full ruby in colour. High tones on the nose. Palate has pronounced red fruits and slightly sharp acidity with good tannins. The chilli which we ate at the same time, toned down the acidity and made the palate much smoother and fatter, bud did take away some of the fruit experience. Quite a good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/03 Lindemanns Pyrus 1995
Brother and I both agreed that this was great. Lovely balance and a great falvours - blackcurrent and mint being the most noticable. Got better the next day, so maybe could have lasted, but was much better to drink now than the Wynns (Cameron Clark, Holland)

01/03 Wynns John Riddoch 1994
Brother and I had a big disagreement about this. He found it very oaky, but I just found very concentrated fruit - one mans oak is another mans blackcurrent. Needed to be sipped rather than drunk, which for me is the sign of a good wine. Long finish, but its still tannic. Lots of fruit. A wine to come back to in the future (Cameron Clark, Holland)

N.B. older Australian notes are archived here.