This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2003








UK Wine Forum - Australian red, part II

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

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

12/02 Basket Press Shiraz 1991, Rockford
Very alcoholic nose with lots of sweet, sickly American oak. Some fruit remains, but it is rotten and overripe. Cloyingly sweet palate, hardly any tannins, no acidity and a really hot alcohol burn finish. American oak is also present along with a soupy over-ripe fruit character. It hasn't so much aged gracefully rather it has hung around for ten years. No thanks. (David Strange, UK)

12/02 1993 Parker Terra Rossa First Growth Coonawarra 13.3% ABV
Purple core with deep red edge. Amazing raspberry jam nose which after 10 minutes blows away to reveal a deeper vanilla, coconut and blackcurrant fruit/oak combination with hints of marzipan. First impressions are lots of fruit with spice on the tongue, wrapping around the mouth with silky tannin and a good length. With time, the wine changes with tannin becoming more present, and the wine losing some of its length. Very good indeed. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

12/02 1997 Bannockburn Shiraz Geelong, Australia 14% ABV
Plum core with ruby, slightly watery edge. The merest hint of rust throughout. Smoke and bacon on the nose, with a slightly reductive hint and some spice. Very aromatic for an Oz – comes on like a Rhone wine. Smooth warm taste, with integrated fruit, smoke and pepper predominant in an evolved style. Good balance of tannin and acid, lending the wine an elegance and balance that seems to defy the alcohol level. Very good length. A lovely wine – comes on like a good 6yo Rhone. Very good indeed / excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

12/02 1997 Charles Cimicky Signature Shiraz
Another Australian producer that is new to me. Seductive nose delivering very ripe plums and grenadine essence with unctuous juice that overwhelms the palate. This is one big and ripe wine with lots going for it. It is showing a slight oily texture and is a bit light on the acidity but otherwise a heck of a nice Aussie Shiraz. (Roy Hersh, USA)

11/02 1995 Abbotts Prayer, Henschke
Deep crimson colour, quite leggy, nose is quite complex with eucalyptus and coffee notes. In the mouth very smooth and rounded with a beautiful balnce of berry fruit and vanillin oak together with cedar, finish shows well defined fruit rounded out by the oak, probably in its prime but O.K. for a few years more. V.V. nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

11/02 1989 Thomas Hardy Cab Sauv
Colour is fairly deep crimson & pale to the rim, loads of berry fruit on the nose delicate background oak but with signs of maturity. Exceedingly smooth in the mouth, lovely feel, tannins not too assertive, beautifully integrated, plenty of fruit with hints of allspice, cloves & mint. Finish is silky smooth. Drinking very nicely but no hurry to be drunk up, very very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

11/02 1997 Rockford, Shiraz Hoffmann Vineyard SVS
SVS means that this is a special vineyard selection wine. Saturated ruby colour - almost black. High tones of blackberry on the nose with deep, massive plum notes lower down. Really super concentration, very port-like. Good acidity keeps this nicely in balance with thick chewy tannins. A fine wine. I probably won't touch another one for a few years - if I can help it! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 2000 d'Arenberg, The Dead Arm Shiraz
I missed out on the 1999, but have '96-98 in the cellar. Saturated ruby colour. Nose is pretty deep with some smokey elements from the barrel treatment. The palate is very concentrated with crunchy tannins and quite good acidity, lots going on in here. The tannins are not quite as smooth as the Rockford SVS, but quite good value. A very good wine and unusually for a young Dead Arm I find this quite drinkable. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 1999 Rockford, Barossa Valley Basket Press Shiraz
Deep ruby colour, still purple at the edge. A lovely intense plum and mulberry nose. Good intensity of fruit on palate too. Reasonably sweet with thick tannin. The acidity pushes the finish quite long. A very good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 1999 Bremerton, Old Adam Langhorne Creek Shiraz
Deep ruby colour, some purple at the edge. Nose is relatively high toned, some blackberry in there. There's a lot of concentration here, predominantly small stoned fruit. The acidity is a quite persistent with medium-plus tannins that creep up on you. I'm sure this is a better wine than the Baileys, but it needs some time as it's currently a little anonymous. This time last year the 1998 Old Adam was much more forward. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 1999 Baileys, Glenrowan 1920's Block Shiraz
Deep garnet colour, still with a cherry rim. The nose is reticent but has high tones of cherry and blackberry. The palate shows medium-plus fruit intesity with good acidity and medium tannins. More interest here than the 'Bobby Burns'. Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 2000 Campbells, Rutherglen Bobby Burns Shiraz
Medium ruby colour. Redcurrant and even banana on the nose. The palate is sweet and quite jammy. Reasonable acidity and mainly red fruit. An okay wine in a much lighter style, but this lighter version is for my taste less interesting than previous 'Bobbys'. For this vintage at least, not up to the standard of its peers. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

11/02 2000 Lost Valley Shiraz, 14,99 Oddbins
Monster wine. Dark purple colour, it was fairy thick and coated the glass. Lots of weight and fruit in the mouth, this was full of pepper and dark cherries. Actually reminded me of a Priorato wine. Too big at the moment to drink, this need 3 to 5 years in the cellar to calm down a bit. Very impressive. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

11/02 Campbells 1992 The Barkly – Rutherglen, Australia – 14%
100% Durif from old vines. An opaque red with some colour at the rim. A nose of eucalyptus and green pepper. A rich, slightly sweet introduction, powerful lid palate with a long declining finish. Good acidity backs this up and I feel it could go for another 3-5 years. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 St Hallet 1992 Old Block shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia - 13.5%
Colour: Very dark blackcurrent red colour. Nose: Restrained syrah with the tell-tale mint, this was more complex than I thought it may be. Palate: Compacted and concentrated liquid velvet fruit in a glass, with a long, long finish. Many people''s favourite wine of the night and I enjoyed it too. Tasted surprisingly young, like a 5 year old shiraz. Will easily keep another 10 years in proper storage. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 1996 Ebenezer Shiraz, Barossa (14%)
Deep ruby with purple core. Warm berry, chocolate and oak nose, which is opening up nicely. Big mouthfeel with prominent peppery spice, warm with quite gripping tannin, espectially on the finish. With time, the tannin faded to leave the black berry fruit coming through. It would be interesting to taste this in, say, 4/5 years time. For the moment, very good/excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

10/02 Lindemans (Australia) "Padthaway" Shiraz 1996
I was surprised to see this last Friday on the shelf of a local "offy". The 1998 IWC gave it a bronze, and I remember it was about 7 or 8.99 in Tesco at the time. So as it was being offered at 4.99 (they seemed to have a job-lot) it was worth a punt. Certainly has a blast of vanilla oak that leaps out of the glass and punches you on the nose. Balancewise it was a bit tippy towards the acidic side but overall not bad. Had thrown a huge sediment. I'll probably go back and get some more for the bonfire night party. 13% abv. £4.99 The Wine House, Shifnal. (Daron Fincham, UK)

10/02 1994 D'Arenberg Ironstone Pressing
I bought a case of this on release for a song, and few here had even heard of d'Arenberg at the time, as little was imported to the states back then. I still have a few bottles left and this wine is drinking very well today and at peak. I have opened a bottle every year or two to monitor the progress and it now shows well developed secondary nuances and is in perfect synch today. 85% Grenache and 15% Shiraz and the black fruits come together in a gentle wave. It was a palate crusher with brutal tannins in its youth and I am glad it has subsided in that way. Now a great food wine or sipper. (Roy Hersh, USA)

10/02 Torbreck 'The Juveniles' 1999
Youthful medium purple showing a little age to the rim. Great rustic nose with some spiciness together with raspberry, blackberry, cherry and tobacco notes with a big whack of lovely farmyard stink & no oak. Yummmm. The palate follows just as well with generous fleshy savoury notes of preserved plum, earth, raisin, and pepper with some cherry, raspberry & red currant fruit in a juicy texture. A compote of mingling flavours with still (just) lively tannins and a generous finish. Any acid has now disappeared so if you've got it then drink up while it tastes this good. Is it worth 94 Parker points though? I think not, but still, it's a lip-smackingly nice wine. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

10/02 Penfolds 1992 Old Vine blend Barossa Valley – 13.5%
This is very dark, nearly opaque. Where is the Red Bigot to give his thumbs up? The nose is quite strong in eucalyptus at first, giving way to spice, pepper and blackcurrants. Initially soft, the black fruits pour across the palate with a refreshing thread of acidity all the way to a decent finish. Also present is the soft vanilla of the American oak used. This is a nice wine which is drinking well now – no need to age any more. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/02 1996 Wakefield, St. Andrews Clare Valley Shiraz
Decanted 1 hour before drinking. Very deep garnet, almost to the rim. Cream and intense plum fruit, blackberry, kirsch and bacon fat on the nose. Like many premium shiraz's, there is no doubting both the quality and concentration of fruit on this beast, but what is most impressive is the fineness of the tannins. The last tannins that left such a smooth coating on my teeth were from de Vogüé's 1er Cru Chambolle-Musigny, i.e. young vine Musigny. As smooth as smooth can be. Top notch without a doubt - Excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

10/02 St Hallett Faith Shiraz 96
Purple with slight brownish tints. Nose of tobacco, mint, eucalyptus - still quite powerful. Palate: mature, soft and rich, subsiding from its blockbuster youth, now gamey and getting a bit volatile. Hurry up and drink. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/02 Wynns 1991 Michael Shiraz – Coonawarra, Australia – 13.5$ - £32 (US$48) about a year ago (now £40 (US$60)
A deep red with some colour in the rim showing it has bottle age. Strong nose of dominant eucalyptus and vanilla. The soft, slightly bitter palate and acidic taste made some tasters think it needed more time. I and the majority thought that the fruit were drying out and this was over the hill. The Coonawarra region has limestone underground and this contributes to the high acidity in the soil and subsequently the wine. Drink up. My score 5 (4.8). (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 1996 Grant Burge, Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvigon
Very deep garnet, still with glints of purple. The nose is archetypal cabernet with concentrated blackcurrant, hard to discern much else. The palate is very concentrated with youthfull fruit and tannin. Good acidity and medium plus length. Seems very young and currently a little one-dimensional. Quite Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1996 Grant Burge, The Holy Trinty - Barossa
A GSM blend. Medium-deep ruby red. Nose is a deep and creamy summer pudding - very good. The palate has tons of ripe concentrated fruit, good acidity and tannins which don't get out of line. A very nice, though possibly overpriced (€30) wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 Grosset Gaia 1999
Morelles and black cherries on the nose. Slightly tannic, but not one for the long term. More black cherries in the mouth and the finish is warm and long. Definitely a wine with personality and the wine I could still taste on the train back home. Very good (Cameron Clark, Holland)

09/02 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
More forward style than the Gaia. Nice rounded nose with hints of red fruits. Wine is very well balanced with flavours of red currants and cherries. Much smoother wine than the Gaia, it was definitely a lot easier to drink. Tannins were warm and very well integrated. You can enjoy this now, but given the name it's probably one to keep. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

09/02 Torbreck 'The Steadlings' 1996
Now I think this is the inaugural vintage of this wine (or at least bought at the same time as the 1995 'Run Rig'). Good youthful medium purple in the glass. The nose, oh the nose, well how can I put this nicely(?) hold on I've got it- it's flyspray, yep, flyspray, and just like 'Aeroguard' with a touch of red fruits & spice. But hold on, the drink its self, well it's not shy and it's certainly medium/full-bodied but hold on …… someone has an aerosol flyspray can in here this today. A pretty unusual wine to say the least, but on this tasting – poor I'm afraid. Hopefully this is a one off bottle as the inaugural 'Juveniles' (the 1999) has a positive whack of 'Brett' to it which has, to me at least, a somewhat positive note to it. This wine, I hope, is a poor bottle. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/02 Tyrrell's VAT 9 1991
Medium purple youthful rim. Stunning Hunter nose exhibiting all the pungent notes of redcurrent/plum, old leather, licorice, tar, meat & the slightly smoky aromas associated with an almost fully mature Hunter Shiraz. The palate is all about suppleness, elegance & complexity combining the red fruits with savoury game, earth, pepper tar careful use of oak and finishing generously with fine tannins. Certainly not a blockbuster but an almost complete wine with great presence & character. Just a shear joy to drink. Excellent. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/02 Norman's Old Vines Grenache 1998
An old favourite this and the last of 18 bottles bought after this was Tom's WOTW, perhaps 18 months ago. Back then this was rich and christmas cakey. Now it has quietened down, the nose is dominated by blackberry but has lost some of the original richness. The palate is all blackberry, the richness and spices previously so notable have dried out. Pleasant, but disappointing, the last year hasn't treated this wine well. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/02 Tatachilla Shiraz 1996
Deep red, classic Oz Shiraz nose, ripe and sweet, but with enough acid to balance. Soft tannins and well-structured. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 2000 Tatachilla, Keystone Grenache/Shiraz - McLaren
Ruby colour. Flowery high tones on the nose. Palate has good acidity and fruit. Very commercial style. Okay. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Maxwell, Ellen Street Shiraz - McLaren
Ruby colour. A little vanilla on the nose. Very ripe and tanninc. Medium plus length. Quite Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 2000 Primo Estate, Il Briccone Shiraz/Sangiovese
Ruby colour again. Reticent nose even with swirling. Very smooth and fat - black fruits. I like this. Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Primo Estate, Joseph Cabernet.S/Merlot
This wine spends 2 years in a mixture of French, American and German oak. Deep ruby colour. Some high toast on the concentrated nose. Very sweet, almost port-like on the palate. Good acid and nice furry tannin. Easily the best wine so far - Fine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Chapel Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon - McLaren/Coonawarra
More garnet in colour. A sweet and interesting nose. Sweet palate too, like blackcurrant jam. Tannic and long. Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Chapel Hill, Shiraz - McLaren
Ruby colour. High tones on the nose with some lower plum notes. Sweet palate with nice black fruit and medium plus length. Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Mount Horrocks, Shiraz - Clare
Ruby core with cherry red at the rim. Palate is sweet with black fruit and medium plus length. Quite Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1998 Charles Melton, Cabernet Sauvignon - Barossa
Garnet colour. Hint of vanilla on the nose. Very sweet palate. Black fruits again with very good tannin and acidity. Very interesting. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Charles Melton, Nine Popes - Barossa
Ruby but looking older at the rim. Subdued nose. Very sweet palate with stewing black fruits. Very long finishing with subtle vanilla. Good Plus. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1998 Penley Estate, Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep ruby colour. Black cherries on the nose plus deeper stewing blackcurrant notes. Palate is sweet and tannic with black skinned fruit. An intense finish too. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Wirra Wirra, Shiraz - McLaren
Dark ruby colour. Oaky nose with some chocolate. A sweet palate with deep plummy fruit. This long too. Very good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Wirra Wirra, RSW Shiraz - McLaren
Very dark ruby, almost opaque. Nose is almost inky, perhaps boot polish too. Great intensity of fruit. Tannic with good acidity. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1998 Wirra Wirra, The Angelus Cabernet Sauvignon - McLaren
Deep ruby with some purple at the rim. Classic Blackberry and blackcurrant nose. Tannic with good acidity and really good intense fruit. A trace of coffee on the very long finish. An excellent cabernet. Fine (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1998 Rockford, Moppa Springs - Barossa
Medium ruby colour. Sweet red and black fruit, tending to raspberry as the top notes. Sweet with furry tannin and nice acidity. This is a soft wine. Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Rockford, Cabernet Sauvignon - Barossa
Medium ruby colour. Very sweet palate, ripe and rich with good acidity and medium tannins. Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Rockford, Basket Press Shiraz - Barossa
Ruby but with a cherry edge. A good, ripe and deep Shiraz nose. The concentrated palate is quite sweet with thick tannin and good acidity. medium plus length of finish. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1998 Rockford, Basket Press Shiraz - Barossa
Deep ruby colour. A fuller higher toned nose than the previous wine. Very similar concentration of fruit to the 1999, but a little less sweet on the palate and softer tannin. Different, but also Very Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1997 Rockford, Shiraz Hoffmann Vineyard 'SLV' - Barossa
1996 was the first vintage for this wine. Very deep saturated ruby colour. High tones of blackberry on the nose. Very sweet and tannic with superb concentration. Good acidity keeps this nicely in balance. Easily Fine ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 2000 Coriole, Shiraz - McLaren
Deep ruby colour. Red fruit and tobacco on the nose. Very sweet. Tannin is not so smooth but a very long finish. Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Coriole, Mary Kathleen - McLaren
Ruby colour. Subdued nose with some deep tones. Palate has interesting 'burnt' fruit notes. Fine acidity. Quite Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Coriole, Lloyd Reserve Shiraz - McLaren
Deep, opaque purple. High tonedbut relatively subdued nose. Thick but smooth and furry tannin on the palate with very concentrated fruit. Long too. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Greenock, Cabernet Sauvignon - Seppeltsfield
Medium/deep ruby. A very blackcurrant nose. Tannic with very concentrated fruit and good acidity. Good Plus.

09/02 1999 Grosset, Gaia Cabernet - Clare
Ruby colour. More oak than fruit on the nose. Palate is sweet with reasonably concentrated fruit, furry tannins and good length. Good (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 2000 Dalwhinnie, Shiraz - Moonambel Victoria
Deep ruby colour. Nose is subdued with mainly low notes, perhaps a little blackcurrant. Very tannic, but excellent fruit. This is very interesting. Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Clarendon Hills, Shiraz Brookman - McLaren
Ruby colour. Toasty oak on the nose, but not heavy handed. This has a very deep and fruity palate. I have to say that it's not 100% to my personal taste, but it's also quite individual, so Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 1999 Clarendon Hills, Grenache Romas Vineyard - McLaren
Medium ruby colour. A deep nose with chocolate and coffee. Very tannic, but excellent fruit and acidity too. Finishes long. This is Very Good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

09/02 Shiraz "The Footbolt" d'Arenberg 2000
This was perhaps too warm when I drank it, my excuse being that the Oddbins I bought it from was very warm (in fact, all the Oddbins in Cambridge are too warm). The wine was soupy, sugary and flabby, with little grip and muted fruit flavours. I suspected it might be corked as well as too warm, and since I have been disappointed with a number of Footbolts (as well as delighted) I am worried that it's d'Arenberg's fault or that of their corks? On the nose it lacked the crisp freshness that I associate with Oz Shiraz in this price bracket. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

08/02 2000 Penfolds, Private Bin Shiraz-Cabernet Ruby-Cabernet
Reserved plummy nose. A little tannin, good acidity with cherry and damson. Quite good, but not very exciting - also very young, needs another year. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 2000 Penfolds, Clare Valley Organic Wine Merlot-Shiraz-Cabernet
Deeper colour than the 'Private Bin'. High toned, estery nose - characteristic of Clare Valley, gained caramel notes with time. Much denser on the palate than the 'Private Bin' with higher tannin and good acidity. Characteristic merlot fruit and the finish is still touched by oak, a pretty good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1999 Penfolds, Bin 2 Shiraz-Mourvèdre
Deeply coloured. High toned nose which becomes less so, as it develops plummy fruit in the glass. A sweet palate which is tannic and slightly spicy. Good fruit intensity, with some vanilla on the finish. I liked this wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1997 Penfolds, RWT Shiraz
This is the first vintage for RWT. Colour is very deep. The nose starts with high flowery tones, developing to 'cooking' plum and chocolate notes. Very sweet with concentrated fruit and smooth tannins. Certainly smoother and richer than the 'Bin 2'. Also touched by vanilla on the finish. A very good wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1993 Penfolds, Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
No obvious signs of age, dark colour. Nose has pronounced earthy black fruit, and is higher toned than in the 'Bin 389'. Great fruit on the palate too, also very smooth with medium tannins and good though slightly fiery acidity on the finish. I preferred this. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1996 Penfolds, Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz
Similar colour to the 'Bin 28'. Nose is closed. Palate is very smooth good fruit density and good acidity, I found it slightly anonymous though my wife preferred this to the 'Bin 28'. Perhaps a less than perfect bottle? My last one earlier this year was much better. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1997 Penfolds, Grange Shiraz
Decanted. Very dark. Simmering plum nose with a trace of coffee bean. Certainly the night's most intense fruit experience. Mouth wrapping tannins are certainly not the smoothest, but apparently young Grange can "be all over the place" and this one is pretty well integrated due to 1997 being a 'cooler' vintage. It's pretty impressive stuff, but not as impressive as the price! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 Penfolds, Grandfather Tawney Port
Amber-brown in colour. Sweet high alcohol nose. Sweet and nutty in the mouth, but too much alcohol for my taste. So my wife who thought it rather good, drank both glasses. Quite expensive at ~€60. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 Slaley Hunting Family Merlot 1999
Muted bouquet with slight toffee. Plenty of sweet toffee fruit on the palate with hint of mint, good drinking now but not sure it has the structure to last. (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Slaley Hunting Family Cabernet/Merlot 1999
Similar bouquet with toffee but this has more tannic backbone and acidity. Not throwing any of this in the swill bucket! Very good. (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 Slaley Hunting Family Shiraz 2000
Bacon with slight volitility, saddlesoap or persil depending on your perspective, classic New World shiraz with pepper and a good long acid kick. Went straight for the bottle of this at the end of the formal tasting. Very good/excellent. (Charles Adams, UK)

08/02 1999 Gemtree Vineyards, McLaren Vale Shiraz
Deep colour, still purple. The nose is also deep and concentrated, with heavy plum fruit and some caramel notes. The palate is like eating a velvety 'summer pudding'. There is just so much juicy black fruit going on here. In the mouth it seems almost too sweet and out of balance, but the good acidity comes through late to save the day. Very good, and given time, perhaps much better than that. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1997 Mount Ida, Victoria Shiraz
Deep ruby colour. Nose is deep and wide, with stewing plums and cinnamon topped with brown sugar. Palate is equally sweet and fruity, but with really fine acidity which means that this wine is just as happy with food as without. Tannin is there if you look for it, and the acidity pushes the finish quite long. Always a favourite this one ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 1992 Petaluma, Coonawarra
For 78CHF in a restaurant (€54), remarkable value when you consider the current 1998/99 vintages retail locally for 45CHF (€31). So anyway; this 1992 is a Cabernet-Merlot blend. Still a deep ruby colour. The nose was cabernet dominated, but with more mature meaty notes. The palate had good plummy fruit density, tannins now quite mild. The acidity went with a zing, in an 'old world' style. This was subdued by the food, but possibly not enough. Still an excellent wine though, and no rush to drink. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

08/02 St Hallett Faith Shiraz Barossa 1996
Purple with slight brownish hints. Strong nose of tobacco and mint eucalyptus. Mature, soft and rich, subsiding from its blockbuster youth, but now gamey and getting a bit volatile. If you hurry up its Good/Very Good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 1997 Leeuwin, Prelude - Margaret River Cabernet-Merlot
Very deep garnet, only a little lighter at the rim. Nose has remnants of toasty oak, wet stones and higher notes of alcoholic prunes. Not too thick in the mouth. Quite good acidity, lingering into a very long finish. Tannins are still prominent and drying on the finish. A nice wine which comes together better with food. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

07/02 Penfolds RWT 1998
Black as night, closed nose, gripping tannin with powerful peppery fruit fighting for dominance all the way, just winning on a points decision. Huge palate, continuing with a long finish. Unusually structued for a wine with such massive extract. Very good, potentially excellent. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/02 2000 Jon Reynolds "Handpicked" Triple Blend. Central Ranges
Very leggy and dense, nose is pretty typical Oz full varietal fruit with creamy oak, in the mouth jammy, almost caramelised with some perfumed notes and a tough of spice, little or no structure, finish is smooth fruit with creamy oak. Nice (Dave Sansom , UK)

06/02 1998 Rymill Winery, Coonawarra Shiraz
Concentrated ruby with purple edge. Nose has kirsch and red fruits. The palate has nice concentration, furry tannins and good acidity. Less of a bruiser than many, but stillwith good concentration. Very good at £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, McLaren Vale White label Shiraz
Again almost opaque. Nose is highly concentrated with peppery notes and a hint of cough mixture. The palate is equally concentrated and quite tannic with good acidity. The cough medicine came through strongly on the palate, which spoiled the effort for me. If you don't mind the night-nurse, an excellent effort. £13 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 2000 Langmeil Winery. Barossa Valley Shiraz
Dark with purple colour. Peppery shiraz bouquet with some coffee. Good tannins, relatively sweet and fruity with decent acidity and sweet caramel length. A good effort. £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 2000 Metala, Langhorne Creek Shiraz-Cabernet
Good to see this back on form. 1997 & 1999 were light-ish affairs which were mainly good for guests (!) and barbecues. This is a deep garnet with some purple at the rim. Lovely nose with cherry and a hint of mint. Palate has very good concentration of cassis and tobacco. Fantastic at the price. £7 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1998 Rymill Winery, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvigon
Almost opaque. Nose is lovely deep, ripe Cabernet fruit with a trace of vanilla. The palate has super concentration, really excellently melded tannin and acidity and a great finish. The pick of around 10 cabernets and cheaper than most - so QPR winner too at £11. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, McLaren Vale White label Cabernet Sauvignon
Again almost opaque. Good nose, deeply tannic and long in the finish - excellent effort. £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, White label Petit Verdot
Very deep colour. Flowery high toned nose - similar to Parma violets. Palate was broad, lush and very spicy, though not very long. Reminded me of a tough Kent Rassmussen Petit Syrah I once had. Takes no prisoners and you can see why this is normally a grape for blending - but interesting none-the-less. Not for sale - just testing ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Langmeil Winery, Grenache Fifth Wave
Favourite wine of the night (together with the Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon). Deep colour. Lovely interesting nose of leather, earth - and even fruit ! Excellent concentration, good acidity and furry tannin. Finishing with a hint of cream. Pricey at £20, but excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 Passing Clouds Angel Blend 1996 13%abv
Medium purple, showing some age. Quite a concentrated nose showing mint, baked plum, some earth and pepper followed by more mint. The palate followed on with (yep, you guessed it) mint, good though slightly sweet blackcurrant/black berry fruit, earthy/pruney/plum tones, a touch of eucalyptus followed with another splash of mint for good measure. Nice soft tannins and drinking beautifully now (if you like all that mint)! Oh yes, this was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bendigo region of Victoria. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

06/02 Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Cabernet Franc 1999
Dark ruby. Quite intense nose of strawberry jam and juice, with a chemical, petrolly element. Very strong in mouth, quite stemmy and unripe while at the same time overheated in character. Inky and very long, but odd, almost non-winey in its car oil consistency. L11. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 R.H. Binder Barossa Valley Shiraz-Grenache 1999
Again those notes of juicy and vibrant wild berries on the nose, underpinned by lots of petrol and rubber, pleasant and easy-drinking, round, with no acids or tannins showing. Very drink-me-now. Good in its unashamedly New World style. L9. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Duckbill Winery Pinot Noir 2000
Very light ruby, Rioja-like colour. Nose of boiled vegetables again, not so much Pinot-like really. Acidic, with rather unripe fruit in mouth, some interest to the intensity and texture but nothing special. L6. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Kaesler Barossa Old Vine Grenache 2000
Medium faded purple. Nose of medicinal currant pills with petrol overtones, Cologne water or wet glass. Cleaner in mouth, with some residual sugar or glyceric smoothness showing on the finish. Long and intense, but very odd style, with an ungiving old-vine character. L11.25. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 David and Dina Hickinbotham Paringa Individual Vineyard Shiraz 2000
Very dark opaque colour. Some petrol on the nose, juicy, with a liqueur or ratafia note. Good integration, pleasant to drink and not overpowering. Quite good and not expensive at L7. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Tim Gramp McLaren Vale Shiraz 1997
Again that petrolly-oily overheated nose, lots of burnt tyres here, then showing quite bready or biscuity in mouth, with relatively pure fruit character. Good and individual. L16. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 1998 Rymill Winery, Coonawarra Shiraz
Concentrated ruby with purple edge. Nose has kirsch and red fruits. The palate has nice concentration, furry tannins and good acidity. Less of a bruiser than many, but stillwith good concentration. Very good at £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, McLaren Vale White label Shiraz
Again almost opaque. Nose is highly concentrated with peppery notes and a hint of cough mixture. The palate is equally concentrated and quite tannic with good acidity. The cough medicine came through strongly on the palate, which spoiled the effort for me. If you don't mind the night-nurse, an excellent effort. £13 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 2000 Langmeil Winery. Barossa Valley Shiraz
Dark with purple colour. Peppery shiraz bouquet with some coffee. Good tannins, relatively sweet and fruity with decent acidity and sweet caramel length. A good effort. £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 2000 Metala, Langhorne Creek Shiraz-Cabernet
Good to see this back on form. 1997 & 1999 were light-ish affairs which were mainly good for guests (!) and barbecues. This is a deep garnet with some purple at the rim. Lovely nose with cherry and a hint of mint. Palate has very good concentration of cassis and tobacco. Fantastic at the price. £7 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1998 Rymill Winery, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvigon
Almost opaque. Nose is lovely deep, ripe Cabernet fruit with a trace of vanilla. The palate has super concentration, really excellently melded tannin and acidity and a great finish. The pick of around 10 cabernets and cheaper than most - so QPR winner too at £11. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, McLaren Vale White label Cabernet Sauvignon
Again almost opaque. Good nose, deeply tannic and long in the finish - excellent effort. £11 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Pirramimma, White label Petit Verdot
Very deep colour. Flowery high toned nose - similar to Parma violets. Palate was broad, lush and very spicy, though not very long. Reminded me of a tough Kent Rassmussen Petit Syrah I once had. Takes no prisoners and you can see why this is normally a grape for blending - but interesting none-the-less. Not for sale - just testing ! (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

06/02 1999 Langmeil Winery, Grenache Fifth Wave
Favourite wine of the night (together with the Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon). Deep colour. Lovely interesting nose of leather, earth - and even fruit ! Excellent concentration, good acidity and furry tannin. Finishing with a hint of cream. Pricey at £20, but excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

05/02 RBJ Theologicum 1999 Barossa Valley
Deep red but not impenetrable, fairly subtle oak with lots of fruit and smoe smoke on nose. Very savoury palate, low on tannin but with excellant acidity to balance the fruit. long finish, won't make old bones but hey I for one don't care. A blend of mouvedre and grenache apparently. 15/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

05/02 1999 Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
Sorry terrible at describing colours in reds, just want to say that it had a very deep core with a tight purple rim. Seriously tarry smoky nose (surprising as the Bin 28s are made in second and third year barrels). Very taught blackberry fruit on the palate, lots of oak and slightly astringent. Lovely structure though and long finish. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1994 Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
Looking slightly paler and the rim a bit broader and developed. Very mineral and dusty leather on the nose. Also you can almost smell the alcohol. On the palate has some of the flavours of a spicy plum jam, but again quite minerally. Good mouthfeel though. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1991 Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
Mid brick red rim, but still has a very deep dark core. On the nose, it is quite sweet and very porty, with a touch of cherries. On the palate it has less weight than the other two, and again comes across as being porty. The cherries follow through as well, slightly. On the finish there is only really wood and alcohol. Disappointing, but more because the other vintages showed well. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1997 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
Looks a little paler than the Bin 28, but has a very tight brick red rim. On the nose I found it quite earthy, with a hint of judo mats (!). No real primary fruit there for me. On the palate it was quite peppery and mouthfilling with lovely fine firm tannins. The finish was a touch hot (again for me) and just a little astringent. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1991 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
Had broader brick red rim than the '97, still a deep core though. Again on the nose I found this a touch porty (I wonder if this is characteristic with all 1991 South Australian wines?), with hints of redcurrants. It had a lovely rich redcurranty palate, with a little astringency on the finish, but a beautiful structure and mouthfeel, and not as hot as the '97. A delicious wine. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1986 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
A lighter broader rim than the 91, but still looks a lot younger. A bit volatile with a touch of banana on the nose, followed by black pepper and redcurrants (again). Wonderful sweet dark fruity flavour (kind of like summer pudding made with fruits of the forest). It was a little short and a little thinner on the palate than the other two, but had an beautiful shape on the palate. Amazing how young and backward this seems. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1997 Grange
Don't really get much deeper colour than this. Opaque almost black core. Serious brooding nose. Hard work sniffing, but got some prunes. On the palate this is big. Serious mouthfilling chunky tannins. Prunes, blueberries and a touch of spice. This is not a monster as I was expecting, but it is a delicious wine. The flavour just went on and on. Might I say that it is drinking beautifully now? (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1993 Grange
Still opaque, but showing a little development on the rim. The first impression on the nose was of blackcurrants and their leaves (this was the dominant smell when we sat down at the table after the wines were poured). Tonnes of them, plus a touch of oak as backing. Absolutely massive in the mouth. Lots of lovely ripe tannins integrated with heaps of blackcurrants. Amazing length. I was gob smacked. I found out later that this had 14% Coonawarra Cabernet in the blend which accounts for the blackcurrant notes. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1989 Grange
There is no way that this wine is 13 years old. It looks as though it was bottled last year. On the nose I found it a little porty, with serious prunes and dried blueberry notes. On the palate, it is still so young, with so many primary fruit flavours, and those tannins wonderfully meshed between them. Maybe a little less length than the '93, and maybe the finish is a touch bitter; but what a wonderful wine. (Nayan, UK)

05/02 1998 Henschke - Keyneton Estate
Deeply coloured, and very purple. Nose is oh so intensely fruity; blueberry / blackcurrant in style. Palate is thick and oaky, you can chew this wine. That's not really being negative, because the fruit is so dense the oak is certainly not out of balance. Very good acidity and medium tannin. If you get home and there's no food in the cupboard, eat this wine instead. Very good/excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/02 Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz, 1992
Still got some fizz, but not really a top wine for me. Tasted on the verge of being too old, although my mother downed her couple of glassed rather easily. Fruits still present though. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

04/02 1995 Cape Methelle - Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark coloured, garnet with a little red at the edge. The nose started with soaring black fruits – lovely. After a few minutes it developed an undercurrent of damp, mushrooms and wet dog – as nice as it sounds !! The palate was excellent though; super concentrated very sweet black fruits, well hidden tannin and long acidity. Ignoring the strange nose, this wine is a peach. Normally we drink about 2/3rds of a bottle in one sitting, but this was finished on the night. Very good and very more-ish. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/02 Pipers Brook (Tasmania) "Ninth Island" Pinot Noir 2001
The colour has that alarming purple to it and is quite dark. Quite a fruity nose, but it was the 13.5% alcohol that persuaded me to give this another try. I'm sure that must have added a fair dollop of Tate & Lyle as the wine is also incredibly sweet. It also "doesn't taste like a pinot" according to my long suffering wife. "Not fruity on the palate at all" says she. "Why do you buy wines like this?" Seems that having won me over "9th Island" have made a new enemy. £7.99 Tesco. (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/02 Lindemans (Coonawarra) "St. George" Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Remember when you were young and could sink six gin & tonics, eat a starter and have room for pudding? Well drinking this wine is a bit like that. Its dark, brooding and concentrated. The quintescence (have I got that right, Melvyn?) of the Aussie expression of cabernet: minty, sweet and chocolatey. A veritable Black Forest Gateau of a wine. My problem these days is that I can only manage a light sponge, so prefer more restrained cab sauvs. Having said that the abv. is only 13%. Not sure this is worth £16.99. (Daron Fincham, UK)

04/02 Redbank 'Sally's Paddock' 1994 11.5%
Elegant or what (although not quite on the same level as Mount Mary's Quintet) Good medium purple/plum - fading rim. Soft nose of black current sweets although quite high toned with a touch of mulberry and cherry. Good vibrant acidity on the palate with the cut of ripe cherry and raspberry and soft slightly green tannins. Good finish. Not too bad. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/02 Redbank 'Sally's Paddock' 13%abv
Deeper medium purple/plum than above. The slight VA lift wasn't as obvious as the '94, but a better defined veriatal Cabernet nose with black currant, raspberry & cedar notes. Good elegant palate (more of a reasonable Bordeaux) showing more earthy & spicy touches with its medium body and fine tannins and sweeter finish. A lovely elegant Oz although I'm not sure if there was much, if any, Shiraz in this. Very nice. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

04/02 1996 St Hallett - Blackwell Shiraz
Quite deeply coloured, still with a little purple. Creamy oak on the nose together with high toned fruits, red and black. Very smooth with not bad acidity, but there's perhaps a small hole in middle. The tannin creeps up on you and there is good length. Still a good wine though. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/02 Ashton Hills Pinot Noir Reserve 1997
This was my surprise red wine WOTY choice a couple of years back, but I knew it was going to struggle to compete having tasted the Olssens. And so it proved... a much darker richer colour than the Olssens. In fact, much more of almost everything except finesse and balance. The nose was of powerful beetrooty fruit and a touch of spice. Palate rich, full bodied, fat fruit with a slight splash of new oak still apparent. Long rich finish. An impressive bottle with plenty of life yet, but very much the bridesmaid vs the NZ bottle. Very good/excellent. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

03/02 Limestone Ridge, Lindemanns 1994
After a very oaky St. George and others comments, I did not have great hope for this bottle, so was pleasantly surprised. This has been near American oak but it is perfectly integrated and adds complexity to the rich dark fruit, just as it should. Colour is a dark red, almost opaque with a heavy sediment lining the bottle. Sweet berry fruit with good acidity and not too jammy like some Oz wines. Hints of mocha and old cheese with extended breathing. An every last drop wine that leaves you with the feeling that you have had too much! Very good. (Charles Adams, UK)

02/02 1998 Henschke – Mount Edelstone
Deeply coloured, but not as 'super-saturated' as many premium shiraz's. Still purple at the rim. The nose is intruiging: very intense and reminiscent of a premium Chilean cabernet - I wouldn't guess this was shiraz. Strong blackcurrant with a little chocolate and crème brûlée in the background. On the palate, beautifully covered acidity. Only mild, furry tannins with liquorice and a blackcurrant and black cherry compote. Length is very good. A lovely wine which I would never have guessed as a straight shiraz. For me a 'one glass' wine right now, so definitely leave for 3 – 4 years before trying again. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/02 Penley Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 95
Bright red colour with first hints of bricking. Nose of lifted redcurrants/strawberries, sweet and enticing. Palate of intense red fruits, tobacco and muscovado sugar, very long strawberry and cinnamon/spice finish. Perfect maturity. E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Mount Langhi Ghiran Victoria Shiraz 93
Colour: solid purple with signs of some browning. Nose: medicinal, gently minty/eucalyptus, touch of buttery new oak. Rather haunting. Palate: lovely spicy-mature berry fruit, refreshing acidity, dusty/earthy lingering aftertaste. Some kinship to a top Crozes Hermitage. Still surprisingly primary in its flavours. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 1992 Dalwhinnie (Victoria) Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark. Very rich chocolatey, sweet, clean nose. Thick, thick palate of chocolate, coffee, dark molasses, but lively enough acid. I guessed at a youngish Barossa Shiraz! Showing beautifully and aged nicely. (Stephan Muller, UK)

02/02 1991 Charles Melton (Barossa) Shiraz
Very dark colour. Slightly odd, medicinal, herbal nose to start with, with dark fruit lurking underneath. Strong cassis on the midpalate. Very interesting wine, with a creamy thickly textured mouthfeel. Tannins soft, acidity in the background and oak well integrated. Excellent to taste, but for me slightly cloying to drink after a while. (Stephan Muller, UK)

02/02 Yarra Yerring Dry Red No.1 1996
Somewhat dry, smokey oak domininating but otherwise nicely put together wine although lacking good cab. credentials (Nick Alabaster, UK)

02/02 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz/Cabernet 1994
Very dark colour with very sweet nose and very little discernible oak. This is carried onto palate, with lots of black fruit with some very fine tannin underpinning the long finish. Very nice, not sure if it will still evolve or not. 15.5/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

02/02 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon 1988
Another damn'd fruitless wine. My new year's resolution was never to drink wine too young, and it's brought nothing but trouble. Woody, fine, slightly balsamic nose, but entirely sans fruit. Same on the palate. I got fed up and filled up my glass with a lovely wine made by a friend, Ch de Vauclaire grande reserve. The Mentelle added finesse to the black cherry of the Vauclaire. Rather yummy. (George Horton, UK)

02/02 Penfolds Bin 389 1997
Having finished my '95 & as Penfolds reckon this is now ready I decided to open my only bottle.Can't say I am dissapointed that I opened it nor that I only had one bottle.It was a very nice wine (damned with faint praise). Good weight good fruit all held together beautifully but not a patch on the '95. If I had any more I should be quite content too drink them but certainly not to hold onto them. (Don Reid, UK)

02/02 Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 1999
inky purple, nose of blackcurrants vanilla and olives, then powerful Shiraz fruit and spice, with noticeable tannic backbone and nicely integrated acidity (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 1995 Yalumba, Reserve Clare Valley Shiraz
Almost saturated colour that is ruby but still purple at the rim. Nose is still the primary plum fruit, earth and crème brulée that I remember from 2 years ago. The palate has good acid with now less obvious tannins it's also very creamy and quite fat, admittedly mainly oak derived but still great fun. Good creamy length. Still worth leaving for a couple more years. Very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/02 1994 Geoff Merrill, Reserve South Eastern Australia Shiraz
Saturated ruby colour. Nose is that fabulous mix of dark chocolate with sweet damson and cream that would be a dream desert. Tannins are still nice and furry with good acidity. Palate is a little 'thinner' than the Yalumba but I'm only being picky here, as overall I (just) prefer this to the Yalumba. Again very good. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/02 Yarra Yering Dry Red No2 1989
Everytime I drink a YY wine I'm ever more impressed. Noticable paling of colour from centre to rim, but still deep red in centre.The nose initially reminded me of Musar, but very earthy and complex albeit with a high toned lift. Palate was delicious, complex fruit mixed with aniseed, and earthy tones, still some acidity but little tannin. Long seamless finish, delicious. 12.5%abv 17/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

02/02 1973 Penfolds Grange
Brick red, clear to rim nose. First impression in the mouth - smoky bacon, also in there cedar, leather, caramel, sufficient berry fruit, liquorice, five spice, mint and a gameyness. Balance is perfect and the finish grips well. Almost certainly past its peak but still a wonderful experience (and we wont mention the spillage on the carpet will we dear). (Dave Sansom, UK)

02/02 Noon Eclipse 1999 McLaren Vale
Hmmm. Very dark colour, with raisined overripe nose. Palate is hollow with some fruit on attack and plenty of alcohol on finish but no complexity, no tannin and apparently nowhere to go except down. All this for £30 and 94 parker points. What was he thinking??? 15.5 %abv, frankly I'd rather have drunk Jacobs Creek, as at least I'd have finished a glass or two. 11/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

02/02 Penfolds Bin28 1991 Kalimna
Solid to the rim, nice black fruits, some leather, meaty nose, this one is still got plenty of tannin. Finish very meaty. Different beast ? Could do with more time? or the wine is just not as well made compare to the others (Roland Leung, Hong Kong)

01/02 Brokenwood 'Graveyard' Shiraz 1998
Deep purple in colour. Rich and concentrated nose of aromatic blackberry and raspberry with roasted nuts, aniseed, black pepper, tar and the slighest hint of gamy complexity. The palate is very firm with great ripe tannins and powerful fruit (nothing like a SA Shiraz though) and savoury vanillin American oak which isn't too sweet with some (tiny) hints of liquorice, dried meat and leather. A beautifully structured Hunter. Hands off for 5 years at least (but drinkable now if you like them young) and this should drink for at least 15 years. A lovely pup of a wine which is just starting to show glimpses of the outstanding wine that it should become. A classic 'Graveyard'. 14%abv (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 1999 Maxwell Estate Lime Cave Cabernet Sauvignon
Colour is deep and dense with a nose showing sweet spicy fruit with background vanillin oak. In the mouth rounded fruit, firm tannins, a little confected, spicy cedar and vanillin oak, a tad austere. Fruit dominates the finish but nice harmonious oak flavours combine, lingers nicely - Nice/V.Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 Turkey Flat Shiraz 1997 Barossa Valley
Hmm, thought I'd like this a little more than I do. Dark red/purple colour, with somewhat woody nose. Nose also slightly volatile. Palate seems compressed as though the fruit has been squashed by the wood into a very small part of the palate. Finishes very long but with a sense of slight astringency and earthiness. Somewhat bizarre, and difficult to recommend at £15 a bottle. 13/20 (Anthony Taylor, UK)

01/02 Plantagenet Mount Barker Shiraz 1998
Medium red purple. Nose of toffee and tar with a slight hint of eucalyptus/mint. Palate of small-berried fruit, tobacco, pepper, with crisp acidity ( fresh, but a little disjointed from the rest of the wine - is this a sign of acidification?) and a long warm velvetty finish. Pleasing earthy/peppery aftertaste. There's a nice rich mellowness to the core of this wine, behind the pepper and acid skin. Very good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/02 Henschke Hill of Grace 1984
Showing signs of maturity with a brownish tinge to the wine although still bright. The nose was a cocktail of sweet black fruits interlaced with vanilla, cassis and cinnamon. A wonderful mouth feel with silky smooth tannins that were perfectly intergrated. Massive concentration and intensity of fruit, especially blackcurrants and brambles. The finish was shorter than expected. This wine is now on it's plateau of peakness and should be enjoyed now. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 1999 Groom, Barossa Valley Shiraz
Opaque, saturated ruby. From cold (15°C) no pepper and spice but there is coffee and crème caramel, the nose doesn't open up much more, but there is some black cherry. The dark chocolate palate has concentration and good acidity that is so well balanced it's initially quite hard to find, but your mouth keeps watering for minutes later. The tannin, similarly, is also very well hidden but it's there - I find this wine extraordinarily well balanced. Reminds me of the '94 Stonewell (drank a couple of years ago) but with a better length. Possibly the best young shiraz I've ever tried, excellent. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 2000 Paracombe Cabernet Franc, Adelaide HIlls
Colour is fairly deep crimson and is very leggy, solid berry fruits, parma violets and fruit cake spices on the nose. In the mouth luscious sweet fruit dominates pushing oak back to the margins, light tannins and fine structure. Slides down smoothly with lingering slightly perfumed fruit. V.V. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 2000 Cape Mentelle Marmaduke, Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvedre
Very dense and exceedingly leggy, nose is dominated by plummy fruit. In the mouth it has a nice feel, coarse grained tannins, a touch of spice, loads of fruit, ginger and lovely smokey oak. Gripping finish with a lovely dollop of caramel. V. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 Penfolds Bin 28 1986
Deep brick red fading to red/brown. The nose suggests lovely earthy prunes with spicy, brambly & peppery overtones while the palate, which is still fresh, is wonderfully mature with a rich and concentrated mouthfeel and good meaty, gamey and chocolate fruits with sweet plum, prune and coffee. Still vibrant but with softened tannins and good acidity. This must still have another 5 years ahead if it. I can't look at a young Bin 28 in the same way after drinking this mature example. Very, very lovely and a real treat. 13%abv. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Penfolds Grange 1988
Still youthful signs with a deep dark red, going on crimson colour that just shone. The nose was awash with black fruits, leather, game and spice with a lovely sweetness to it. On the palatte is was very soft for Grange and had an abundance of blackcurrants, cracked black pepper and a hint of cherry. A totally decadent and hedonistic wine with silky smooth integrated tannins and complexity. The length went on for well over a minute and I didn't want to eat or drink anything after each mouthfull! Still very young in it's development, this will go on for another 20+ years. Wonderful and so far my WOTY for 2002. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Penfolds Bin 707 1998
Completely shut down (do Ozzie wines *ever* do this???). Very little there with only a hint of cassis-scented fruit but a palate load of black fruits, acid, tannins and new oak. It is a powerhouse of harmony though, and a clear cut Cabernet varietal. This will be a great 707 but leave it for 15 years to re-enter its primary fruit phase and then develop all its secondary nuances. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 1999 Bleasdale Bremerview Shiraz
Darkly coloured, the nose is high toned giving the expectation of an overly acidic palate – not so. Lovely mouthfeel, thick, fruity, the high acidity is covered by ample sweetness & nice tannins. I would have guessed £12-15+, but this is only £7.49 rrp – stunning value. I bought the last 8 in Oddbins to serve as 'house wine' over Xmas. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 1998 Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz
Perhaps a hint darker than the above, a sweeter nose with subtle vanilla. High acidity which is not as well covered as the Bleasdale. Again nice tannins and good structure. Enjoyable, but the (cheaper) Bleasdale is significantly better. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 1999 Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon
The shiraz punches so far above it's weight I thought I should try the cabernet too. Medium ruby colour. Nose again high toned with a nice minty blackcurrant edge. Again expected an acidic palate, but once more nicely balanced. Not the luxurious mouthfeel of the shiraz but still good. Finished quite long, smooth with a little creamy vanilla. At £7.49 again very good value, but the shiraz is the star. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 Tim Adam's "The Fergus" 1994
Deep crimpson in colour right through to the rim. The nose displayed an intense concentration of black fruit with a hint of leather and soft spice. Initially the wine was very astringent and had a mouth puckering effect on the first taste. This soon died down though and left a wine still with gripping tannins but far more restraint (although the acididty is still strong). The primary fruits have almost gone but there is still a taste of small ripe blackcurrants with a touch of leather. The length is very good but the wine definately needs food to calm the tannin and acid components down as they are very strong in the mouth. I feel that it may be going through a lull so will wait a couple of years before pulling another cork. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Greenock Creek Apricot Block 1999
The colour (not unsurprisingly) was vivid purple. The nose dispayed a high intensity of small black fruits although no individual ones stood out. The wine was big but not overtly so and showed a multitued of fruits and spices with a little herbaceousness to it. The length was medium to long and overall this is a wine that needs a few more years to develop and come into it's own. (David Pearce, UK)

01/02 Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay 1995 13%ABV
Deep gold colour. Honeyed nose, with hints of butterscotch and hazlenut. Medium bodied, with good acidity and length. Smooth, buttery taste. Note the relative lack of alcohol - the wine enjoys balance as a result. Good/Very Good (Ray Abercromby, UK)

01/02 St Halletts Old Block Shiraz 1998
Deep opaque purple colour, extending to rim. Decadent, expressive nose, with smoky/vanilla oak, leather, spice aromas expanding from the glass. A warm, expansive palate, with good length, spice, and a voluptuous blooming of the taste in the mouth. Very Good. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

01/02 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz 1992
Deep ruby/mahogany. Extremely powerful and complex nose of blackberries, spice and leather. Smooth ripe tannins. Complex on the palate with plenty of vibrant black fruit giving way to spice, vanilla, and liquorice. Very, very long. Excellent. Ready now, but should hold for 3 years +. Good value at £25 at auction. (My favourite Aussie Shiraz to date, although I've yet to taste my odd bottles of Grange, Armagh '94 and HOG '91.) (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 1989
An old favourite, although last tried 2 years ago. Deep ruby, fading to garnet. Classic nose of blackcurrants, spice and vanilla, although a little subdued. Very smooth and soft on the palate. Medium-bodied and only 11.5% alcohol. Fruit beginning to fade – it's still there, backed up with creamy vanilla and a little spice, but this lacks the grip and substance it had a couple of years ago. Fair/good length, but now fading to alcohol where once there was fruit. Previously good, but now in decline. Good value (when in prime) at around £18. (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Rockford Basket Press 1992
14.5%abv. Medium purple. Sensationally mature earthy and cedar nose. Magnificent mature palate showing on this wine with softening blueberry fruit, tarry elements, classy cedar oak, undergrowth, spice and older cigars and bay leaf with a seamless textured finish. This wine, is at last, revealing its secrets and sums up a magnificent mature Barossa which is not a fruit bomb. Excellent and well worth the wait. These old Rockfords should be kept a secret and it should hold for a while. Roll on my '91s and '96s! (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 1988
Medium plum red fading on the rim. The nose was an absolute delight with a welcoming bouquet of mixed sweet black fruits and violet, quite captivating. The palate had tremendous depth and a mature mouth filling array of stewed blackberries, prune, mocha, grilled meats and mulberry fruit. Together with its beautifully integrated vanillin cedary oak and soft tannins this wine showed fantastic and elegant complexity together with a long and lush opulent finish. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Veritas Hanisch 1997 Shiraz
My first taste of this rarity Just an amazing drop of wine. An fantastic fragrant complex nose of forest scents and soaring black berries with a touch of licorice. The palate was very rich and intense but very silky and full of deep concentrated flavours of briery fruit with a spicy background of clove, violet, cassis and chocolate/cedar oak. A lovely balanced (big) wine and I'd drink it now (or in 15 years) if they had any left too buy!! Damn. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

01/02 Hardys "Bankside" Shiraz 1998
I used to drink a lot of this when it was £4.99 (the 1992 vintage I think). So I picked up this blast from the past to check it out in a generally acknowledged good vintage. Colour was pleasingly dark with the suggestion of some concentration (there was even some sediment). Nose of "Venos" cough mixture. You have to work your palate hard to detect the liquorice but it is there. The finish is dry. Its really not sweet enough for me but not bad for £6.99 (from a little local off licence - but I'm sure Safeway have it for all you rich shoppers. 14.0% abv. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/02 1981 Grange
losed on opening took an hour to open up-elegant restrained nose, eucalyptus coffee and mint with a touch of vanilla but not dominant. Palate quite earthy with some hints of truffle. Tannins still evident but soft. Overall balanced , not over the top and quite complex. Very good. A delight to drink but would I have thought this was the most sought after wine from Australia in a blind tasting? (Jonathan F, UK)

01/02 1996 Cape Mentelle Shiraz
Still reasonably dense colour but fading slightly, nose is very leathery and medicinal. The medicinal flavour tends to dominate in the mouth but with enough spicy plum and currant fruit together with some background dusty vanilla to make it a worthwhile bottle.Structure is fine, finish is cedar/leather dominated. Drink up. Nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 1998 Charles Cimicky Daylight Chamber Grenache
Dense and very viscous in glass, cedar dominated nose with fruit very much in background. Very spicy in the mouth, again cedar dominated but rich figgy raspberry fruit plus tobacco and parma violets try to struggle through. Chunky structure, finish is quite long with fruit showing a bit more. Different. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 1997 Charles Cimicky Signature Shiraz
Very viscous, theres a suprise, good colour, nose shows soft fruit supported by vanilla toffee/fudge. Spicyness cuts in straightaway in the mouth but rich currant and berry fruit abound with a hint of cedar in the background. Structure is smooth and the finish is long,lingering and nicely balanced with toffee fruit dominating. Very nice. (Dave Sansom, UK)

01/02 Cape Mentelle Cabernet/Merlot 1999
A less obvious nose but a deeper flavour. A cirrhosis inducing 14.5% alcohol by volume, but what a way to go! £9.99 Majestic (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/02 1992 Seppelt, Chalambar Shiraz
Medium garnet, bricking towards the edge. The lovely nose is coffee and leather with some higher vanilla tones. In the mouth quite thin, reasonable acidity and the tannin is all gone as is the fruit, but unfortunately nothing has replaced it. The finish is now shorter and just becoming astringent. Bought 3 years ago for £7, two years ago I would have happily paid £20 for it, now (apart from the nose) it's not worth £7. Fortunately the last one. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

01/02 1991 Penfolds, Grange
Medium to deep ruby colour, lighter at the rim but not yet tending to brown. Nose makes no bold statements, sweet plums with just a trace of spice. The palate has nice acidity, certainly prominent but luxurious tannins and good length with perceptible vanilla, but it is not 'multidimensional'. Basically, in a QPR context it is unremarkable (Maybe a Gluck 14 !). It is a lovely wine which I would possibly have bought again if it cost £20 ! Whilst not a 'lauded' vintage I expected considerably more – very disappointed. So given the choice between 1 bottle of Grange, or 3 bottles of La Chapelle for the same money . (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

N.B. even older Australian notes are archived here.