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
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
216097
Taylors
2015 Merlot
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of boysenberry tart, melted chocolate mint, and hint of menthol and eucalyptus with a satiny, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, long pomegranate-cranberry chutney, nutskin, pepper jelly, and cedar finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A rich, chewy merlot with lots of spicy and herbal complexity.
94 points $17.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220194
Mr. Riggs
2014 Shiraz
Nearly opaque black ruby color. Earthy aromas of dusty earth, dried herbs and tea, grilled plum, and chocolate and caramel with a lightly tannic, crisp, fruity full body and an interesting, medium-length ripe dark fruits, salami, cinnamon and clove, and coffee cake finish with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. A satisfying and versatile youthful Shiraz.
93 points $41.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219787
Schild Estate
2013 Single Vineyard Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz
Dark garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum, cassis, and vanilla with a lively, dry full body and a complex, medium-long finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. Rich meals are made for a wine like this.
93 points $45.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219770
Jip Jip Rocks
2016 Estate Grown Shiraz-Cabernet
Dark black violet color. Aromas and flavors of wet earth, blackberry jam, saddle, and smoked poblano pepper with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, refreshing, medium-long lavender, twigs and stems, and dried pomegranate finish with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. Well-integrated aromas and flavors along with a rustic yet refined edge make wine drinkers seeking adventure beg for another sip.
93 points $19 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217940
Wakefield
2015 Shiraz
Dark violet color. Fruity, attractive aromas and flavors of melted chocolate toffee and blueberry and banana cream pies with graham cracker crusts with a supple, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, layered, long candied orange and lime peels, baking spices, and nuts finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A spot on example of concentrated Clare Valley shiraz.
93 points $18 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218153
Mr. Riggs
2015 The Gaffer Shiraz
Nearly opaque violet color. Roasted aromas and flavors of creamy mocha and dark roasted pecans with a satiny, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length blueberry chutney, spiced apples and craisins, and nut brittle finish with chewy, crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A robust, toasty shiraz with a sinewy core of ripe fruit.
93 points $18.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab