Ray Isle lights three excellent Australian wines: an intense Shiraz, a great-value blend and a crisp Riesling.
Classic Wines from Australia:
2008 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling ($44)
Jeffrey Grosset’s single-vineyard wine, from the South Australian region of Clare Valley, practically defines the potential of Australian Riesling. It’s entirely dry, with sparkling acidity and flavors that float between chalky minerality and fresh lime fruit.
2006 D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz ($65)
The gruesome-sounding name is a reference to a vine disease that, by killing one “arm” of the vine, often produces tremendously intense grapes on the other. Certainly D’Arenberg’s flagship Shiraz is intense, with notes of white pepper and tobacco and layers of red and black fruit.
2007 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet ($12)
Penfolds introduced this Cabernet-Shiraz blend in 1976, naming it after a vineyard at the northern edge of Australia’s Barossa Valley. It’s been one of the world’s top red wine values ever since. Full of ripe blackberry fruit with a slightly spicy edge, this red also ages surprisingly well—a rarity for a wine so inexpensive.
Wine Advice & Pairings:
Dan Phillips on Shiraz