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Ironing Out The Kinks: Jim Barry The Armagh 1985-2021

featured, Australia, Verticals & Retrospectives

Angus Hughson, Jun 2024

The tale of Jim Barry’s Armagh Shiraz has mirrored the national wine story over the last forty years. Terroirs with the highest aspirations from the outset have taken time to hit their straps, with occasional missteps along the way. Thanks to greater precision in the vineyard and winery, the last ten years have seen this Clare Valley Shiraz slip into a neat groove with a unique mix of sheer power and finesse. This was showcased in this complete vertical tasting stretching back to the inaugural 1985 vintage.

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The Yin and the Yang of Western Australia

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, May 2024

Western Australia remains a beacon of hope and value in a world of stratospheric fine wine prices. This report shows that, pound for pound, few regions can match Margaret River for finely crafted Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. My first coverage of the emerging regions of Great Southern and Pemberton also showcases wines that are surprising for their subtlety and diversity.

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Cellar Favorite: 1994 Penfolds Grange and 1975 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Australia

Neal Martin, May 2024

During my time in Bordeaux tasting barrel samples, I spend most evenings essentially harvesting tasting notes for my annual “Centuries Of…” article that will appear in due course. Ironically, perhaps the best bottle of wine with a vintage ending in four was not from either the Left or Right Bank but from Australia.

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Victoria: Cutting Edge Meets Classic

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, Mar 2024

In south-eastern Victoria, the regions of Yarra Valley and Gippsland are leaders in the emerging wave of modern Australian wines thanks to a mix of cool climates and cutting-edge winemaking. This report showcases how these diverse terroirs, coupled with recent mild vintages, have delivered refined Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Nebbiolo that challenge traditional perceptions of Australian wine styles and quality.

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Flirting with Perfection - Giaconda Chardonnay 2011-2021

featured, Australia, Verticals & Retrospectives, Argentina featured

Angus Hughson, Jan 2024

There are more famous Chardonnays in Australia, but none are more keenly collected or tightly held than Rick Kinzbrunner’s enigmatic Giaconda. Originally conceived in California, Giaconda not only put the small outpost of Beechworth in Victoria on the international map, it also helped an entire nation to find its Chardonnay mojo. A rare chance to taste the last decade of vintages exceeded expectations and showcased a world-class wine that can compete with the very best.

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Cellar Favorite: 1971 Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Australia

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

There was a time a few years ago when I drank quite a number of mature Australian wines. Sadly, these have become much harder to find, especially since I have not visited Australia for over a decade. Therefore, it was a joy to drink a 52-year-old bottle from Henschke on a recent trip to the Far East.

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Killer Cabernet from Coonawarra and Friends

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, Oct 2023

There is a widespread perception that Shiraz is far and away South Australia’s leading red grape variety. Yet scratch a little deeper, and the credentials of Cabernet Sauvignon loom large, from bold Barossan and Clare Valley styles through to more elegant and nuanced wines. This article explores the current state of South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon and blends from a range of regions while uncovering the breathtaking quality and value to be found in Coonawarra’s 2021 vintage.

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Eruptions on the Mornington Peninsula

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, Sep 2023

Thanks to the never-ending march of international wine prices, “bargain” is a word seldom used to describe quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. However, hidden south of Melbourne, in Victoria, is a post-stamp-sized oasis where unicorns can still be uncovered. Forget what you think you know about Australian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The best wines from one of Australia’s leading regions of these varieties are also truly world-class.

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Penfolds Collection 2023

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, Jul 2023

It’s easy to judge a book by its cover. There is little doubt that the headline act - the 2019 Grange and Shiraz wines in general - will receive the most attention in this range of new releases from Penfolds. But that would be a mistake in 2023 where there is plenty more worth exploring. The 2021 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon shines brightly in lockstep with the 2023 Eden Valley Riesling.

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Changing Gears in Barossa

featured, Australia

Angus Hughson, Jun 2023

Think you know Barossa? Think again. Australia’s most famous wine region is re-inventing itself while honoring its terroirs and traditions. It’s thrown off the sometimes-heavy-handed use of oak and heady levels of ripeness in a quest to craft stylish wines that prize nuance and refinement in addition to classic generosity of fruit.