About Australian Wine

Wine is a bit of a quandry when one speaks of Australia. Here is a country that ranks sixth in the world as far as total production, yet it so too often associated these days with inexpensive, mass-produced wines.

This is understandable, given that a few huge corporations produce a great majority of the country's wine, with much of its destined for supermarkets in the USA and England. But this reputation is a true shame, as there are so many excellent wine regions that are home to some magnificent producers.

Shiraz is the country's signature wine; not only is it Australia's most widely planted variety, it is also the wine with the greatest reputation. Especially in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, there are explosive versions of this wine that can age for many years. Other notable reds from Australia are the Rhone blends with varying percentages of Grenache and Mourvedre added to Shiraz.

Certain areas such as Western Australia are ideal for cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Probably the best white wines are Semillon from Hunter Valley and especially Riesling from the Clare and Eden Valleys. These Rieslings, thought quite different from those produced in Germany, are equally brilliant and are most assuredly world-class
Top Picks for Australia
219789
Schild Estate
2013 Ancestor Vines Moorooroo Shiraz
Dark garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of cassis, plum, blackberry, and eucalyptus with an lively, dry-yet-fruity full body and a refreshing, medium-long finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A juicy Shiraz with bold fruit flavors.
96 points $99.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218155
Mr. Riggs
2014 The Magnet Grenache
Garnet black color. Spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of berry chutney, chocolate mint, and menthol lozenge with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a complex, long huckleberry jam on toast, exotic spices, and nut brittle finish with fine, silky tannins and light oak. A sensationally spicy and flavorful grenache that hits all of the high notes.
96 points $21.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215934
Mr. Riggs
2014 "The Magnet" Grenache
Bright medium ruby black color. Fruity, herbal aromas and flavors of cranberry-blueberry relish, cocoa, and hint of menthol mint with a satiny, vibrant, fruity body and a silky, involved, long creme brulee and toffee finish with silky tannins and light oak. A fantastically supple and flavorful grenache.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220624
Taylors
2017 Riesling
Emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of white blossoms, peach and mango chutney, passionfruit, and apple tart with a vibrant, fruity medium body and a complex, long lemon curd, kiwi in cream, and minerals finish with fine, crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A lush tropical riesling that delights the palate with lip smacking acidity and mouthwatering fruit.
94 points $19 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221028
Zonte’s Footstep
2016 Love Symbol Grenache
Dusty ruby color. Attractive, fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of black raspberry torte and huckleberry jam on raisin toast with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a graceful, interesting, long blueberry cobbler a la mode, apple tart, vanilla toffee, and marinated beets and yams finish with fine, chewy, fruit tannins and light oak. A decadently delicious Grenache that will captivate and delight.
94 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219786
Schild Estate
2014 Liebich Vineyard Prämie Shiraz
Dark garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of cassis, plum, coconut, and peppercorn with an lively, dry medium-to-full body and an amusing, medium-length finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A nice Shiraz with pleasing herbal accents.
94 points $79.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222247
Taylors
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep purple color. Rustic, elegant aromas and flavors of fertile earth, grilled marinated red bell pepper, ripe black cassis, and blackberry with a round, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a peppery, layered, long fruit leather, fresh ginger, and black pepper finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A vibrant, powerful, concentrated Cabernet for now and the long haul.
93 points $18 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222242
Taylor Made
2016 Malbec
Deep purple color. Fruity aromas of juicy sweet blackberry, cranberry bread pudding, eucalyptus, and cocoa powder with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-length fresh beets, pomegranate glaze, roasted carrot, and toasty oak finish with silky tannins and moderate oak. A lush malbec with layers of rich flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222246
Taylors
2015 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon
Black violet color. Spicy aromas of menthol-mint, dried blueberries, ginseng, and lemongrass with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a peppery, complex, long mixed peppercorns and fine leather finish with firm tannins and moderate oak. An exotic, spicy cab that will develop into an excellent, distinctive cellar selection.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221851
Sidewood
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Pale clear silvery emerald straw color. Interesting, savory, fruity aromas and flavors of tropical fruit basket, grilled grapefruit and plantain, and pickled root vegetables with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, nuanced, long lime herb relish, wheat grass, and minerals finish with soft, fruit tannins and no oak. A wonderfully layered and expressive tropical sauvignon blanc with great style and balance.
93 points $18 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab