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south eastern australia


Yalumba Muscat “Museum Reserve” (South Eastern Australia) – 375 ml. My interest in wines of this overwhelming sweetness has waned over the years, and while it’s certainly impressive in its molasses-like texture and endless, sugary lingering, I just don’t want more than a few small sips of it. None of these are really criticisms – the wine’s a fine exemplar of what it purports – so much as a realization that our relationship has moved on. (12/11)

…aren’t forever

Rosemount Estate “Diamond Label” 2005 Riesling (South Eastern Australia) – Solidly made, clean and simple, with a good acid/sugar balance and flavors that hover in the lemongrass-grapefruit range. There’s not all that much of anything, but there’s enough for well-chilled quaffing. (8/09)


[bottle]Brokenwood “Cricket Pitch” 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Shiraz (South Eastern Australia) – This isn’t grenache? Gluggable and full of jam-scented fruit and Froot™, and while I can’t believe this is made from the grapes from which it’s made, I can believe it’s from where it’s from. There’s nothing wrong with this wine for those who like this sort of expression, but for an Old World palate this is a struggle. A highly drinkable struggle. (9/08)

Show me, don’t tell me

[bottle]Wyndham Estate 2004 Shiraz “Show Reserve” (South Eastern Australia) – Aged in American oak, and it shows in the soft coconut wood influence. It’s big. Strawberries and plums are prominent, with chocolate and a warming, spicy component that turns to oak dominance on the finish. This is a well-made wine, but not my style. (9/07)

Hollywood phone numbers

[bottle]Wyndham Estate 2005 Shiraz “Bin 555” (South Eastern Australia) – This is Wyndham Estate’s biggest seller, and the goal is a “ripe” character…one that I don’t think they achieve. I also have a bit of a history with this wine: a negative note many years ago on one of the online wine fora caused a blizzard of hate mail from one dedicated but obviously underworked 555 lover. And now? Chocolate-covered paper, flat and dull, then turning soupy on the finish. Tannin is a minor component. This wine just isn’t interesting, at all. (9/07)

Bubbles in flight

[bottle]Wyndham Estate Sparkling Shiraz “Bin 555” (South Eastern Australia) – Blueberry and sweet plum with licorice candy. It’s too sweet for me (25g/l residual sugar), a berry dessert with a little tannin, but as dessert I suppose it’s OK. I just think dry versions are so much more interesting. (9/07)

Riesling rising

[bottle]Rosemount 2005 Riesling (South Eastern Australia) – Full of varietal character, and quite drinkable in a pinch, but there’s nothing else to add to that description. It’s basically dry, with the usual high Aussie acidity scraping any remaining sugar from every interior surface, and the finish is a bit abrupt. Still, one can do a lot worse in the Rosemount stable. (8/07)

Rough diamond

Rosemount 2005 Shiraz (South Eastern Australia) – This is the Diamond Label bottling. Bitter and somewhat rancid fruit in a synthetic key. Ugly. (8/07)

TN: Diamond in the Outback

[bottle]Rosemount Estate “Diamond Label” 2004 Riesling (South Eastern Australia) – This is mega-corporate wine. This is also quite good within that paradigm, and completely decent without it. Green apple and grape with the usual piercing, slightly overdriven acidity (perhaps all the acid lacked by so many other Aussie wines ends up in the rieslings) will brace and cleanse just about any food, no matter how biting. There’s not much of a finish, but then one hardly expects such things from titanic industrial winemaking. The bottom line: this is as solid a supermarket buy as you’ll find these days. (12/06)

TN: Yalumbering

[Yalumba]Yalumba Muscat “Museum Reserve” (South Eastern Australia) – 375 ml. Overwhelmingly sweet (of course), with slow-caramelized dark brown sugar, maple and molasses lent bucketloads of baking spice from the long oak aging. I find differentiating these wines almost impossible – they’re mostly of a piece no matter the initial materials – except in two ways: their structure (which is especially key in the face of so much sugar) and their oxidative qualities (here at a relative minimum, given the style). This is a fairly simple, obvious expression, but it’s quite enjoyable (for non-diabetics) all the same. (12/06)