Australia, Part Two

This second installment of new releases from Australia includes everything from the flamboyant, intensely flavored examples that define Australian wine for many wine lovers to some wonderfully balanced, elegant bottlings that deserve wider attention, even from consumers whose preferences run more to Old World styles. As I tasted through hundreds of Australian wines in recent months, I was struck by the almost universally high standard of winemaking taking place Down Under. I’ve seldom encountered a group of ready-to-drink wines less likely to be marred by unclean aromas; dried out, overtly animal and bitter flavors; or hard or coarse textures. On the other hand, I also ran across intriguing, cellarworthy wines that should enjoy extended and graceful aging curves. The extroverted character of many of the wines reviewed on the following pages may not appeal to those who place a high premium on understatement and restraint, but drinkers seeking major flavor impact and immediate appeal have more options than ever before in Australia.