The Australian wine industry is the world's fourth largest exporter of wine with approximately 750 million litres a year to the international export market with only about 40% of production consumed domestically. Wine is produced in every state, with more than 60 designated wine regions totaling approximately 160,000 hectares; however Australia's wine regions are mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country, with vineyards located in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. The wine regions in each of these states produce different wine varieties and styles that take advantage of the particular terroir such as: climatic differences, topography and soil types. With the major varieties being predominantly Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. Wines are often labeled with the name of their grape variety, which must constitute at least 85 percent of the wine.
- Item #: i_377252Bottle Size: 750MLThis wine is a spectacular example of how Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet can be blended together to create flavors that complement each other so well. Lavish aromas of chocolate, cherry and vanilla cream, lead to a palate of deep plum, spice and liquorice. With soft, integrated tannins and lingering flavors, this is an opulent wine and seriously delicious.
- Item #: i_381882Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Inky purple. Heady, expansive aromas of dark fruit liqueur, potpourri and incense, with a hint of smoky minerality adding vivacity. Offers juicy, penetrating cherry and dark berry flavors and an exotic floral pastille quality that builds in the glass. Shows excellent clarity and thrust on the finish, with silky tannins coming in late."
The "Second Pass" Shiraz is sourced from the Nugan family’s premium vineyards in Australia. After fermentation, the wine was pressed onto the pomace and yeast lees of our premium "Alfredo" Dry Grape Shiraz adding to the wines' intensity, a la the Ripasso style found in Italy's Valpolicella region. Thereafter, the wine was matured in French and American oak for 12 months resulting in a wine of concentration and quality. Dark berries, mint leaf and herbal wood fills the nose as more scents reverberate: black licorice, strawberry tea, mixed brown spices, dark perfumed florals. Sweet fruit buoyed by lush tannins start on the palate with more layers growing with each sip: cherries and berries meet breakfast tea and violet petals, rhubarb, tobacco, dark chocolate and brown earth. Sweet, rich, complex. The tannins and excellent acidity keep it aloft and light on the palate even with all its richness of flavor. Great with grilled meats (from lamb to cow) and game, strong hard cheeses.
- Item #: i_351880Bottle Size: 750MLAUSTRALINA WINE COMPANION 97 POINTS - "Seriously powerful; the very complex bouquet has gingerbread, spice and singed toffee aromas cut by the rancio that comes through on the long, intense, yet elegantly structured and balanced palate. A skilled blending of some younger wine has had the desired effect. Incredibly long, intense and complex."
Deep amber in colour with green gold tinges which is an indication of age. It has a rich, nutty rancio and complex bouquet. Mature grape flavours, oak and a hint of very old fine brandy spirit. A true liqueur tawny port, it is a wine of high viscosity - luscious, rich and full flavoured, and perfectly balanced by a slightly dry finish. The great length of complex flavours highlights the integration of fruit character, oak and brandy spirit.
- Item #: i_372578Bottle Size: 750mlWINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS "Complex and aromatic, with spice, fresh earth, cream soda and black walnut flavors that are rich and polished, giving way to succulent plum and cassis elements. Black pepper and Earl Grey tea grace notes linger effortlessly on the finish. Drink now through 2029. 1,500 cases made, 500 cases imported. — MW"
WINE ENTHUSIAST 90 POINTS "This historic Hunter Valley winery [Tyrrell's] also owns vineyards further afield, and this Shiraz is from Heathcote in Central Victoria, though it still wears the Tyrrell's crown. After a little swirling in the glass, it unveils aromas of plump blueberry, plum, mocha, licorice and florals. Medium to full bodied, it offers an intricate play between texture and acidity, juicy fruit and taut, sandy tannins, hinting at stony minerality. There's an old-fashioned feel about this wine. It's comfortable in its own skin and doesn't try too hard to be modern. Christina Pickard"
Established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines is one of Australia’s pre-eminent family owned wine companies. 1864 was their first vintage. They now have vineyards extending from their historic home in the Hunter Valley NSW (near Sydney) to their Heathcote vineyards in Victoria (north of Melbourne. Headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, Tyrrell's is home to some of Australia's most awarded wines. The Rufus Stone Shiraz is named for the historical marker in England that commemorates the death of King William II, said to be due to an "errant" arrow fired by a Tyrrell.
- Item #: i_380013Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 97JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - "What a nose of chalk, crushed stones, slate, vanilla, spices, honeysuckle, sliced apples, quince, dried sage, thyme and a ton of freshly squeezed lemons and limes. The palate’s very edgy with a taut line of acidity, but it fits in so well the stone fruit and flora undertones. Clarity, precision and focus that matches up to any top Grand Cru Burgundy. Not for the faint of heart but the fearless. "
- Item #: i_377497Bottle Size: EACHWine Advocate: 97WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "Torbreck's 2016 The Factor incorporates what winemaker Ian Hongell calls their "most structured Shiraz, from a lot of ironstone soils." It spends two years in French oak barriques, half of which were new, so it shows hints of cedar pencil shavings and toasted coconut layered over ripe blackberries and spice. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, it finishes long, with terrific energy and drive. It should prove to be one of the longest-lived wines from this lineup."
- Item #: i_382881Bottle Size: 750mlTwo Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz. The original aim shared by Michael and Richard was to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized Shiraz-growing regions throughout Australia. Their intention was, and still is, to showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional characteristics and allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines. Two Hands refers to the very personable approach taken with each parcel of grapes, no matter how big or small. The wines are carefully guided through the viticulture and winemaking process by Michael Twelftree.‘Quality without compromise’ is a core value that drives all Two Hands decisions so, not surprisingly, the wines have received international acclaim from respected wine critics, with Robert Parker proclaiming Two Hands as ‘...the finest negociant operation south of the equator...’
In November 2012, Two Hands was named in the Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 for the 10th consecutive year, an achievement that has never been equalled by any other winery the world over. We generally enjoy the process of putting together our December newsletters as we get to try some of the best wines (and spirits, beer, cigars, et al) that have been released throughout the year. This wine was definitely a highlight of the newsletter-creating process for this humble editor! The nose exudes a kaleidoscope of fruits: mulberry, pomegranate, persimmon, boysenberry, cassis. Dark spices weave their magic in and around the fruits as flecks of black tea, mint, dark floral perfume and midnight incense lend their voices to the olfactory crescendo. Concentrated, rich, extracted. The palate is confident, filled with forward fruits of cassis and mixed red berries, red plum. Amidst the fruit are streaks of earthy loam, underbrush, sandalwood, mint and a touch of cocoa and smoke. Fine-grained tannins and ample acidity keep it lively, bode well for further joys once cellared (if you can keep yourself away). Beautiful chiaroscura between power and finesse; complete stunner of a wine.
- Item #: i_377456Bottle Size: 750mlTwo Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz. The original aim shared by Michael and Richard was to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized Shiraz growing regions throughout Australia. Their intention was, and still is, to showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional characteristics and allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines. We were glad the angels decided to leave part of their 'share' for us-- "Angels' Share" references, of course, the portion of the wine (or other liquid) that angels take from or levy on the winemaker while said wine is in barrel (also known as evaporation). But the intimation is that the wine the angels would want is pretty good stuff and that certainly fits in this case. The nose is a mix of New World/Old World with spicy, peppery plums, light minty earth, raspberries and a touch of cured meats. McClaren Vale meet the Rhône. The palate continues with bright fruits, blackberry, boysenberry, excellent peppery spice, currents of mint and eucalyptus, bacon fat and a bit of earth in the finish.
- Item #: i_381437Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90Wine Enthusiast: 94 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 94 POINTS - "This historic winery is a benchmark for the inimitable style of Semillon the Hunter Valley's warm and humid conditions are famed for. This current vintage is an open and delicate drop that ripples with honey-flecked fruit, beeswax and dried herbs. The juicy fruit and acidity prickle amid a talc-like texture that flows through to a long, refreshing finish. Drink now–2028."
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Distinctive and refreshing, featuring bright, crisp lemony flavors, with undercurrents of lanolin and saline. Offers a supple frame and an impressive finish."
Sourced from a small selection of our favourite Semillon blocks, the grapes were both hand and machine picked before gentle pressing and fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine then spent a few months on yeast lees to gain extra complexity and mouth feel.
A lifted nose showing citrus freshness, the palate continues with fresh citrus and concentrated grapefruit flavours. The palate is light to medium bodied with a perfect balance of fruit and soft acid. In a vintage of this quality, all of our Semillon ended up with an “A” grade and we are incredibly pleased with the release of this Hunter Valley Semillon, easily our best yet.
- Item #: i_383525Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A different expression of old-vine shiraz due to the sandy soil in which it grows; this rare parcel from vines planted in 1908 has been matured in a single 2700-liter, new-French-oak cask — a tradition that is at the core of these great Tyrrell's reds. The nose has plenty of brambly, raspberry and boysenberry fruits and is really nicely framed in spicy and more savory oak notes. Some licorice and a hint of cassis, but this is really bright and vibrant. The palate is smooth and upbeat, where slim-fit tannins are curved neatly around a core of perfectly balanced, medium-weight shiraz that taps into redcurrant, red-plum and dark-plum flavorrs. It's all illuminated with bright tannins and holds long, pure and right on point. Give it at least ten years if you have the patience."
- Item #: i_383659Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of shiraz and cabernet from the Hunter Valley, with the shiraz sourced from premium vineyards on the Tyrrell's property and Moon Mountain vineyard and the cabernet coming from Pokolbin. All of the components were fermented and matured separately until blending. After blending the wine was put back into French oak barriques, 30% of which were new, until bottling. The wine was predominately matured in smaller 225L barriques. As always with Vat 8, we see much darker fruits and some chocolate characters in the wine, along with the extra element of spice from the higher percentage of new oak.
- Item #: i_380580Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 92James Suckling: 95Wine Enthusiast: 94 Points77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, & 7% Petit Verdot
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Love the aromas of fresh mushrooms, flowers and currants. Pops out of the glass. Full body, very tight in the center palate but that takes off at the finish. Tangy and vivid acidity gives focus and life to this wine. What a wine. Screw cap. Drink or hold."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 94 POINTS - "Although it's full-bodied and lush, it's by no means the world's biggest or ripest Cabernet blend. Instead, it's impeccably balanced and gentle, serving up cassis, vanilla and a touch of baking spices in generous swirls that reach a crescendo on the long finish. Drink now–2030."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2012 Heytesbury was the first vintage winemaker Virginia Willcock used only indigenous yeasts for the ferment, which she says has added "life" to the wine. The blend...is indeed lively, showing vibrant notes of cassis framed by hints of menthol, vanilla and tight tannins. It's medium to full in body yet avoids any sense of jamminess or excessive weight, finishing long and fine."
Heytesbury is a blend of the best barrels from the best batches of old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon and small parcels of Petit Verdot and Malbec. The Margaret River Wine Region is positioned on a cape that is surrounded by ocean on three sides in the south-west corner of Australia. Unique to the Margaret River region is a system ofnatural sea breezes and currents that help regulate the variance between seasonal temperatures, reducing extreme cold and heat within the vineyards. These cooling breezes steady the ripening process for the development of physiologically balanced grapes with concentrated fruit flavors. Heytesbury shows incredible elegance and finesse with silky smooth tannins.
Deep purple fading to a ruby rim. On the nose, the wine is very aromatic with violet florals leading the way. Currants, black cherry, cedar, sassafras root, eucalyptol and exotic spices tantalize. On the palate, the wine is dry and full-bodied, yet well-balanced with fine matured tannins. The flavors mirror the aromatics with crème de cassis, black cherry and blackberries leading the way. Savory spices and a hint of vanillin culminate in a seamless, lingering finish. This wine shows incredible balance, complexity, intensity and length. Well done!
- Item #: i_377919Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94AUSTRALIAN WINE COMPANION 95 POINTS - "Has the intensity, complexity and drive expected of Vasse Felix, with layers of white peach, pear and sotto voce grapefruit twinned to the all-important acidity. There's an argument to be made that this offers the best value of the three '16 Vasse Felix Chardonnays."
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Very powerful aromas of grilled peaches and mangoes with grapefruit citrus and minerally spunk. The palate is smoothly layered with impressive concentrated peaches and tropical fruit flesh. Fresh, vibrant and delicious."
- Item #: i_380014Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 91 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS. BEST BUY 2018 - "This brand, which employs an army of winemakers from around the world to make dozens of wines under the Handpicked label, has succeeded in crafting a delicious, delicate Chard at an affordable price. Attractive notes of red apple peels and blossoms are backed by a hint of baking spice and a copper penny tang. The palate is light and fresh, with a tight, chalky texture and a long ginger and apple-peel finish. One to sip with salads and seafood."
- Item #: i_383505Bottle Size: 750mlRipe and soft, this is a great everyday Syrah with a winning combination of generous character and freshness. WINEMAKER NOTES - "The fragrant nose offers abundant dark fruits with hints of cut flowers, clove, black pepper, and anise. The palate is full bodied with a plush mouth-feel, dark fruits, smooth tannins..."
"Winner’s Tank is a new venture between Reid Bosward of Kaesler vineyards, and David and Cathy Knight, owners of the Winner’s Tank site. The name relates to an old water tank that sits in the corner of the vineyard. In true Aussie spirit, a strong rivalry exists between the three neighboring towns in the local Australian Rules Football competition. Each year the winning team heads out to the vineyard to paint the tank in their team colors."
- Item #: i_382795Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 9250% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, 13% Merlot
This is a seriously delicious wine for the price that will satisfy full-bodied wine lovers who enjoy the cocoa and vanilla notes that come with well-judged use of oak, and a crushed velvet texture that has softened since Suckling tasted it!
JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "A dense and chewy wine with lots of chocolate, berry and hints of herbs. Full body, tannic and flavorful...Try in 2019 [and on]."
WINERY NOTES - "Deep plum in color with vivid red hues. Lifted cassis and leaf with cedar and clove spice. The fragrant cabernet sauvignon dominates with bright red fruits and plums. The palate is rich and generous with plush dark fruits. The red and black currants, Satsuma plums and raspberries are balanced by fine savory tannins and cedary oak."
- Item #: i_383616Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93James Suckling: 93Wine Enthusiast: 93 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Delivers intense notes of pure black cherries and crushed blackberries with suggestions of baking spices, Sichuan pepper and menthol. Medium-bodied, firm and taut in the mouth, it is still very youthful, with firm yet ripe, rounded tannins and a refreshing finish. While it is delicious right now, it would be a shame to open it at this primary stage. Give it another 4-5 years in cellar and drink it over the next twenty."
- Item #: i_378585Bottle Size: 750mlThis is a great introduction to Eden Valley reds: a cooler area bordering the famous, very warm Barossa Valley. Yalumba is a name to learn if you haven't already; they were founded in the mid 1800s and have a solid line of different styles for different occasions and palates.
WINE & SPIRITS MAGAZINE 93 POINTS - "A modern take on an old-fashioned style of Eden Valley shiraz, this is bold in flavor but not at all massive—more about stamina and grace than density and weight. Its flavors of red currants, jasmine and tar have forthright power, a zesty blast of shiraz spice that leaves a clean, fresh taste in its wake. This performs far above its price, a wine to buy by the case and enjoy this winter into spring."
95% Shiraz, 5% Viognier
- Item #: i_377018Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93Decanter: 92 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "A deeply inviting nose of blueberry, purple cherry and cassis. Plenty of violets as well as stony layer. The palate has the same pond of creamed caramel oak influence. Tannins are approachable with plenty of engagingly chewy presence. Best around 2022 and for a decade past."
DECANTER 92 POINTS - "Named after the prime terra-rossa-based source vineyard acquired by Yalumba in 1993, this medium-bodied, juicy Cabernet Sauvignon with fine grained tannins majors on elegance over extraction. With lively ping-pong tension between its fresh blackcurrant, lifted dried herbs and lick of bitter chocolate, it’s stylish and highly accessible. Aged for 20 months in a combination of French hogsheads, 36% new, and used American, French and Hungarian hogsheads and barriques. Drinking Window 2018 - 2026."
WINERY NOTES - "The Menzies is in the heart of Coonawarra terra rossa country. The vineyard site is reasonably level, with the defining terroir difference coming from the soils. Our soil is red sandy loam over limestone, which is classic Cabernet Sauvignon dirt. Most of the vines for Yalumba The Menzies were planted in 1985 and are trellised tall with wide rows. Bunches are usually small with small berries giving a concentration that favours the creation of full bodied reds."
- Item #: i_382674Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsDECANTER 95 POINTS - "This Barossa classic – the 56th release - honours loyalty and contribution. In a tricky vintage, it discharges its duty admirably. The 57% Cabernet stamps its authority, from the minty, inky, floral nose to the dried-herb-edged dark currant and berry palate. Juicier notes of blood plum come through, with finely textured, mille feuille tannins which make for a poised, persistent finish. This spent 21 months in French, Hungarian and American barriques and hogsheads, 32% new. Polished and steadfast."
- Item #: i_377538Bottle Size: 750mlMade by Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, Yalumba, this wine reflects the traditions of the acclaimed wines from the Northern Rhone. Yalumba is one of our 'go to' wines when talking Australia. And the Yalumba 'Hand Picked' Shiraz/Viognier 2014 is no exception. This is a wine with limited availability so we did our best to grab as much as we could from the distributor. As is the tradition in the Cote-Rotie (and the rules of the appellation), the Syrah (or, in Australian verbiage, Shiraz) is co-fermented with a smaller percentage of the white varietal, Viognier. Yalumba's Hand Picked Shiraz/Viognier undergoes that same winemaking process of co-fermentation. The Shiraz, along with a small amount of Viognier, are actually crushed and fermented together (what harmony!). The addition of the Viognier intensifies the color, adds an extra dimension and a wonderful fragrance to the bouquet. It also brings softness to that rich and powerful Barossa Shiraz. It's as if the Shiraz underwent training in etiquette to tone down its demeanor! The result is a wine of elegance, a term not typically associated with Barossa Shiraz! Inside the bottle, the wine has the full and alluring flavors of Barossa along with a good level of acidity to make it lively.
- Item #: i_377014Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 96JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "There’s a very direct feel to this grenache, from a parcel planted in the 1880’s. The fresh, red-floral perfume and the raspberry and redcurrant aromas are so beautifully fresh. The palate has directness, intensity, focus and elegance with a very vibrant, gently tart red-fruit core. Holds long, pure and fresh. "
- Item #: i_377276Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "A blend of six vineyards, the 2017 Samuel's Collection Viognier boasts extravagant floral and apricot aromas that leap from the glass. It's a blend of barrel-fermented (in old hogsheads) and steel-fermented components that have a slightly creamy texture and layers of opulent fruit. It's a rich wine, but with sufficient balancing acidity to keep it refreshing and clean on the long finish. It should provide immense pleasure over the next few years."
In our opinion, this Viognier in particular has become the standard by which we judge all others at the surrounding price points. This wine is fermented entirely with indigenous yeasts which maintains complexity and layers of flavor. This is a delicate and aromatic Viognier wine. The color is pale gold with green highlights, with a nose of pure aromas displaying apricot nectar, lifted honeysuckle and orange oil perfume. The particularly white peach and apricot flavours, finishing with an aromatic citrus freshness. This wine will continue to grow and develop in the bottle, firstly showing enhanced apricots and spice, then after a couple of years, honey flavors and toast.
- Item #: i_378513Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 93JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "Such clarity, purity and depth here. This is surely a benchmark for the band of pedigree Barossa grenache, delivered right on the apex of quality and value. Vibrant raspberries, cherries and red plums flood the nose and palate and the chassis of fruit-tannin is sleekly cut. Fresh, juicy resolve."