Delicious Reds At Down Under Prices

By Robert Parker

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The shiraz grape, known as syrah in France and California, makes for some of Australia's best red wines (Parker on Wine, Aug. 21). But the Aussies also do a great job with cabernet sauvignon, grenache, merlot, and other reds, both as varietals and in shiraz blends.

Cheeky Chick 2004 Peeper's Blend

87 points.

Seventy percent shiraz and 30% cabernet sauvignon (with dollops of mourvèdre and viognier), this wine exhibits a dark ruby color as well as a peppery, herb, white chocolate, and black cherry-scented bouquet, velvety tannin, and a supple texture. It will provide delicious drinking over the next one to two years. $10

Bleasdale Vineyards 2003 Shiraz/Cabernet

89 points.

Aged in American and French oak hogsheads (300-liter barrels), the shiraz/cabernet blend (51% and 49%, respectively) possesses an opaque ruby/purple color as well as a big, sweet nose of herb-tinged black currant fruit, high-class cigar smoke, dried herbs, weedy sweet currants, and spice. Its layered mouthfeel and silky texture suggest it can be drunk now and over the next three to four years. $14

Marquis Philips 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

90 points.

This classic cabernet sauvignon offers telltale aromas and flavors of black currants, high-class cigar smoke, and herbs. Medium to full bodied with dense, layered fruit flavors, admirable depth, an attractive suppleness, and an easygoing style, it should drink well for two to three years. $15

McLean's Farm 2004 Shiraz/Cabernet

90 points.

Wow, what a superb bargain this equal part blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon represents. It's a dark ruby/purple-colored wine with a sweet nose of fine cigar smoke intermixed with dried herb, cassis, and cherry characteristics. This deep, fleshy, medium-bodied blend possesses delicious ripe fruit, good underlying acidity, and notions of plums, allspice, and loamy soil in the finish. Drink it over the next three to four years. $15

Kilikanoon 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Killerman's Run

90 points.

Comparable to most $40-$50 California cabs, this wine has a deep ruby/purple color, plenty of earth, herb, and black currant traits, a medium to full body, and fine flesh as well as length. This is a tasty red to drink over the next four to five years. $17

Hare's Chase 2004 Red Blend

89 points.

With 70% shiraz, 16% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, and tiny amounts of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon, this blend offers a dark ruby/purple color as well as aromas of cherries, black currants, and flowers. It has a graceful entry on the palate, no hard edges, lush fruit, surprising elegance, admirable freshness and purity, a layered mouthfeel, and medium-bodied flavors. Drink it over the next two to four years. $17

Tait 2004 The Ball Buster Proprietary Red

93 points.

A classic Barossa Valley effort in terms of bigness, boldness, and a dramatic display of fruit and intensity. If you want something delicate, restrained, and understated, steer clear of this locomotive that crashes over the palate with a flamboyant display of blackberry and cassis fruit, licorice, tar, and spicy oak. Explosively rich with formidable intensity, this blend of 70% shiraz, 15% cabernet sauvignon, and 15% merlot is an amazing wine for the price. Be forewarned that this wine possesses 15.6% alcohol, but it carries it well. $18

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Visit for the Internet's most active wine bulletin board, tens of thousands of tasting notes, or to order his recent book, The World's Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. You can also subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Request a sample copy at: The Wine Advocate, P.O. Box 311, Monkton, MD 21111

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