Winemaker Stuart Bourne calls 2003 a thinking man’s vintage, and he was clearly on form, crafting a delicious wine filled with blackberry tea aromas and flavors. It’s just slightly creamy on the palate, but still firm, turning a bit crisp at the end. Drink 2008–2013. Imported by Pacific Wine Partners.
This is one of Australia’s top sparkling Shirazes, and this will be the first vintage it’s being imported to the U.S. in commercial quantity (150 cases). It’s chocolaty and rich, with flavors of brandied cherries and brown sugar. Drink now–2010. Imported by Pacific Wine Partners.
Mint, blackberry and an appealing meaty note up front, and then a nice, juicy blackberry palate accented by hints of red plum. This one is totally on the money, with an uncompromised balance between zesty acidity and soft tannins. For certain it’s a more versatile food-friendly wine than its big brothers, the Black Pepper and the Ebenezer. Best Buy.
This dense wine starts with aromas of smoke, leather and game, then shows lush blackberry fruit on the palate. Hints of espresso, vanilla and chocolate round out the midpalate; the finish shows some unintegrated toasty oak. Give it 3–5 years to develop. —J.C.
Shows greater fruit character and purity than the roasted 2003, with blackberry flavors nicely framed by vanilla oak and meaty, savory notes. Firm on the finish, suggesting an optimum drinking window of 2009–2016.
With such rich blackberry and clove aromas, the wine’s powerful berry and plum flavors should come as no surprise. There’s spice on the palate, too, which is medium-sized, elegant—and maybe even a little lighter than you’d expect.
A slightly roasted quality permeates this wine, lending hints of coffee and asphalt to the sturdy black olive flavors. Turns a bit crisp and tart on the finish; drink now–2010. Imported by Pacific Wine Partners.
Deep black-purple in color, and tastes as it looks, with black, stewed fruits that are just sweet enough to stand up to the bubbles. Finishes clean and dry, with some eucalyptus. Doesn’t really taste like a sparkling version of their flagship wine, but a good drink nonetheless.