Australian Wine Brands: Simply the BEST

Australian Wine Brands

Australian Wine Brands: Sparkling Wines

Jansz Premium Rose

From Tasmania 

Suggested Retail Price $27.00

92 Points Decanter

With 68% Pinot Noir and 6% Pinot Meunier in the blend, this pale salmon traditional method rose has lingering, creamy strawberry and shortcake nuances to the palate; 26% Chardonnay gives line and length. Supremely drinkable.

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

This pale salmon rose is a reliable sparkling wine at a very good price. The latest NV release is toasty on the nose, then offers just faint hints of peach or berry flavors. It’s lithe yet creamy on the palate, with a long finish. Editors’ Choice.

90 Points Wine Spectator

A very pale rose, with just a hint of berry poking through the smoky, toasty aromatics. Deft and elegant in texture.

90 Points Wine & Spirits

A savory sparkler, this wine’s tart strawberry flavors and bitter apple-skin notes set an austere style, while the fine bubbles make it friendly. Clean and firm, this will needle an appetite for raw oysters.

90 Points James Suckling

A fresh rosé sparkler with some cranberry essence and white roses. Light to medium body, some pretty acidity and a fruity finish.

Australian Wine Brands

Australian Wine Brands: Shiraz

2015 Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz Reviews

From the Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $20.00

92 Points Wine Spectator

Dense, with sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and fleshy notes of spiced plum and wild blackberry. Tobacco, espresso and nutmeg details add aromatic interest, but the focus and purity of the fruit flavors is most powerful on the long finish. Drink now through 2029.

90 Points James Suckling

Big, sweetly-spiced oak here. This has a hearty dose of ripe fruit, but the oak is just a little overstated. Too much bourbon-like character. The fruit could carry the wine with more class. Drink now. Screw cap.

2015 John Duval Entity Shiraz Reviews

From the Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $40.00

93 Points James Suckling

The nose is all blackberry and dark plums with background cola, earth and baking spices. The palate has density with the right hand of balance to guide it in.

93 Points Wine & Spirits

As chief winemaker at Penfolds for 16 years, John Duval was powerfully networked at the center of the Barossa wine community. He established his own label in 2003, focused on Barossa, where he sources fruit from parcels in Krondorf, Eden Valley, Light Pass and Ebenezer to make Entity. His 2015 is a silky shiraz emphasizing tannins with the cool feel of freshly turned earth. It melds floral notes with scents of black olive, black pepper and a bright berry rasp of fruit that speaks of old-vine concentration. Finely integrated, this is built to last.

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Entity opens with crushed black currant and black cherry notes over layers of licorice, chocolate box, Sichuan pepper and fertile loam. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers beautifully soft, silky tannins and just enough freshness to lift the intense pepper and black fruit flavors, finishing long with an herbal lift coming through.

91 Points Wine Spectator

A whiff of fresh mint adds to the black cherry, blackberry and blueberry core. Effusive and concentrated, with notes of chocolate, espresso and sarsaparilla lingering on the finish.

90 Points Decanter

A supple mouth-feel shows exotic spices, herbs, succulent berry fruits and savoury cherries, leading to a seamless mid-palate with rare roast lamb and sage notes. The fresh, green herbs hint at whole-bunch fermentation, and carry the wine well.

Australian Wine Brands: Cabernet Sauvignon 

2016 Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon Reviews

From the Margaret River, Western Australia

Suggested Retail Price $28.00

A bend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Malbec. 

92 Points Wine Spectator

Expressive and dense, with fresh loam notes and herbal accents of sage and rosemary that mingle with a muscular core of dried currant, huckleberry and green tea flavors. Shows wonderful harmony on the finish, where a spicy, cedary detail kicks in. Drink now through 2033.

91 Points James Suckling

Red plums intermingle with eucalyptus and redcurrants on the nose. Lots of boisterous red cherries permeate the medium-bodied palate, where medium-chewy tannins carve out a focused finish.

91 Points Wine Enthusiast Editors’ Choice

One sniff of this little beauty and you’ll be transported to Margaret River’s pristine shores, the Indian Ocean lapping at your feet and towering eucalyptus trees swaying above your head. Your nostrils will sense wild blueberry, strawberry, white-pepper spice, crushed violets, scrubby seaside bushes and dusty warm earth. The mouthfeel is medium in weight, tightly gripped by herbal tannins and a juicy fruity lift on the finish. This producer’s more premium Cabs may be more polished, but Filius is just plain joyful to drink. Negociants USA–Winebow.   

Australian Wine Brands: GSM

GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This is the traditional blends from the Rhone Valley. Especially Chateauneuf du Pape.

2016 Yangarra Estate GSM Reviews

From McLaren Vale, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $34.00

92 Points James Suckling

A spicy GSM blend with lots of ripe black cherries, a hint of ivy extract, dark licorice and some cassis. On the palate, this shows real structure and definition with ripe yet sturdy tannins and fresh acidity. A tangy, chewy finish. Drink in 2020.

91 Points Wine Spectator

Juicy and succulent, with blackberry, blueberry and pomegranate flavors at the polished core. Accents of black pepper and clove linger on the spicy finish, which is full of finesse and thick tannins. Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2030.

90 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

A blend of 58% Grenache, 24% Shiraz and 18% Mourvèdre, the 2016 GSM was fermented in open-top vats with indigenous yeasts and aged in older French oak for ten months. Like all the Yangarra wines, it will benefit from some aeration. Only then will the cherries come out to play with the black olive and sandalwood notes. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a smooth, silky mouthfeel and a lingering finish.

 

Australian Wine Brands: Grenache

2018 Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Bush Vine Grenache Reviews

From the Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $20.00

93 Points James Suckling

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. Drink now. Screw cap.

90 Points Wine Spectator

Perfumed, with heady floral and baking spice aromas singing through to raspberry coulis and strawberry flavors, set on a smooth and seamless body. A hint of vanilla bean lingers on the finish. Drink now through 2034.

Australian Wine Brands: Other Red Blends

2014 Yalumba The Signature Cabernet/Shiraz Reviews

From the Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $70.00 

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Yalumba’s classic Barossa red blend is a complex, restrained drop right off the bat, leading with subtle notes of olives, Middle Eastern spices, dried leaves and ground pepper all wrapped around a quiet line of plum and berry fruit. There’s a silky mouthfeel bound by gentle, savory tannins with spice and plum nuances right to the finish. A fine, balanced wine set to stand the test of time. Drink 2020–2029.

91 Points James Suckling

A dense and flavorful red with currant, fresh herb and earth. Full body, velvety tannins. Herbal finish is a little annoying.

91 Points Wine Spectator

Toasty herb, cedar and plum flavors are smooth and accessible, with polished tannins, a hint of black licorice and Earl Grey tea notes lingering on the finish, where this gains momentum as the details crescendo and the harmony among the elements really shines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Drink now through 2033.

90 Points Decanter

Broad, ripe and showing touches of evolution, with high-toned smoky bacon, vanilla and concentrated red berries on a backbone of acidity through the long finish.

Australian Wine Brands: Chardonnay

2016 Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 

From New South Wales, Australia

Suggested Retail Price $45.00

92 Points Decanter

All the fruit in this Bin 311 comes from the cool climate and high-altitude Tumburumba region, which saw one of the warmest growing seasons on record in 2016. On the nose there is a hint of struck-match and flinty mineral notes. In the mouth it shows crisp acidity and tension as well as bruised apple, melon and citrus fruit with a savoury, leesy complexity (from batonnage in seasoned French oak barriques). This is lean and fresh but not in any way mean or skinny.

92 Points James Suckling

Some assertive toasty oak, almost candied nuts and toffee-like notes layered across bright spiced pear and peach fruits. The palate has a smooth sleeve of rich lemon, grapefruit, pear and green melon fruit, slippery glossy textural appeal and good depth.

90 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Penfolds’ cool climate Chardonnay offering, the 2016 Chardonnay Bin 311, has fresh white peach, lemon curd and Golden Delicious apple with hints of honeysuckle and lightly browned toast. Light to medium-bodied, it has a lively line of acid lifting the pure stone fruit and apple flavors, finishing on a mineral note.

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Tumbarumba is the coolest wine growing region in New South Wales, thanks to altitudes ranging from nearly 1,000 feet to over 2,500 feet. Bin 311 has captured this cool-climate goodness in its Chardonnay, which is a bright-toned combo of salt, lemon rind and toasted nuts. The palate is a fine balance of fruit weight and prickly acidity with a chalky texture and a long lemony finish.

 Australian Wine Brands: Riesling

2018 Penfolds Bin 51 Riesling 

From Eden Valley, South Australia 

Suggested Retail Price $30.00

93 Points James Suckling

Super tight and flinty aromas with a burst of lime and pithy grapefruit and plenty of spicy spark. The palate is taut and succulent, showing slightly chalky texture and lime, apple and green-pear flavors, delivered with power through the finish. Prominent acidity. Drink now, but better as a 5 to 6-year-old wine.

93 Points Wine & Spirits

The Penfolds team developed this wine as a potential white sibling to Grange, but chose Yattarna Chardonnay for that role instead. Bin 51 is a ripe style of Eden riesling, yielding layers of flavor in 2018 that run from deep tones of yellow plum skin and peach close to the pit up to high notes of tangerine. Rich enough to completely clothe its acidity, this is a complex wine with some cereal notes and walnut-skin savor in the end. The fruit makes it accessible now while the structure suggests it will benefit from aging for eight to ten years.

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Classic lime sherbet notes mark the nose of the 2018 Riesling Bin 51. It’s leafy and fresh, then folds in hints of riper fruit on the palate, such as peach and pear. Crushed stone and wet moss give it a firm grounding in the earth as well. Crisp, lean and long, it shimmers with positive sunshine and energy, vibrant and lingering on the finish.

90 Points Decanter

Since 1999, Penfolds has been making Riesling from High Eden vines over 60 years old. From a warm but exceptional vintage, the enticingly fresh, lime-dominant floral aromatics are accompanied by a refreshing spritz on the palate. Medium-bodied limey fruit has a crunchy apple bite for an appetisingly crisp, dry finish. One for ceviche and shellfish. Drinking Window 2018 – 2025

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Penfolds’s latest Eden Valley Riesling is once again a tasty if steeply priced drop. More classic Riesling in style than the previous vintage, it offers delicate notes of lime, lavender, talcum powder, flower blossoms, white pepper and a touch of honey and petrol. Racy acidity keeps the citrusy palate bright and refreshing, balanced by a slippery texture. Drink through 2028.

Australian Wine Brands: Sauvignon Blanc

2017 Leeuwin Estate Siblings Sauvignon Blanc 

From Margaret River, Western Australia

Suggested Retail Price $21.00

92 Points Wine Spectator

Complex and fragrant, with grapefruit zest, white pepper and floral overtones to the precise core of green apple and lime flavors. Juicy and intensifying on the finish.

91 Points James Suckling

There’s a lot to like here. Exuberant tropical fruits and peachy stone fruits leap out of the glass, and the palate has attractive, fresh, fleshy appeal. Drink now. Screw cap.

Australian Wine Brands: Semillon

2017 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 

From Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $22.00

92 Points James Suckling

A soft and velvety white with pretty lemon rind and peach skin. Waxy. Creamy texture. Medium to full body. Dry and delicious. Drink now. Screw cap.

90 Points Wine Spectator

Savory, lanolin and beeswax notes add a succulent edge to the core of peach and pear flavors, set on a medium body, turning to smoke and spice details on the finish.

Australian Wine Brands: Viognier

2017 Samuel’s Collection Viognier Reviews

From the Eden Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $21.00

95 Points Decanter

Delicate apricot and acacia aromas, creamy texture with peach, quince and delicate ginger spice towards the end. Notes of melon and juniper carry through on the long finish, with a pleasant mineral salinity.

91 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

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.

91 Points Wine & Spirits

If you’re looking for something to pour with your veal chop, this wine’s ripe peach and pear-like juiciness would be a refreshing match. There’s some tannic structure to take on the meat, and a clean spice that lasts, ready to meld with food. It’s firm, juicy and rich, an example of Louisa Rose’s talent and expertise with viognier.

Australian Wine Brands: Dessert Wines

Yalumba Antique Tawny Port (375ML)

From Barossa Valley, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $20.00

94 Points Vinous

Deep amber color. A wild, exotically perfumed bouquet exudes toffee, orange peel, caramel, toasted nuts and cherry pit, with a spicy topnote. Sweet, penetrating and impressively lithe for its sweetness, offering intense toffeed apple, fig paste and caramel flavors along with a touch of gingerbread. Closes with excellent clarity and length, leaving smoke, toffee and cinnamon notes behind.

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The Non-Vintage Museum Reserve Antique Tawny is medium amber-colored with aromas of ginger, figs and dates. Intense, ripe, and very sweet, it will finish off your meal in style

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Comes across as slightly spirity on the nose, with a pronounced nutty character that persists throughout, but which is balanced by layers of dark toffee, molasses and date-like fruit on the palate. This is rich and sweet, with great intensity on the finish.

91 Points Wine Spectator

Dark and smoky, sweet but not syrupy, this features coffee, chocolate, walnut and hazelnut flavors that linger effortlessly. Touriga, Muscadelle, Tinta Molle, Tinta Cão, Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now. 1,500 cases imported.

91 Points Decanter

Weighty and raisiny, but elegant and rounded, showing a dense structure home to caramel, dried fruit and aniseed.

Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat (375ML)

From the Barossa Valey, South Australia

Suggested Retail Price $22.00

94 Points Vinous

Deep copper color. Dense scents of cherry, candied plum, dark toffee, mocha and marzipan. Chewy, dense and remarkably deep, with powerful fruit tones ranging from red berries to caramelized orange, with complicating toffee and burnt sugar tones. To call this a bargain is a serious understatement. (Incidentally, I also had the chance to re-try the 2002 Octavius Shiraz and scored it two points higher than last year, at 93. Fans of huge but focused shiraz should seek it out.)

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The Non-Vintage Museum Reserve Muscat is medium amber with a superb bouquet of honey, ginger, candied apricots, and peach. Ripe, sweet, and hedonistic, it has a very long finish.

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Yalumba’s Muscat includes some lots from outside Rutherglen, but it’s still an excellent example of fortified Muscat, featuring hints of caramelized cherries and a sweet, complex melange of caramel, toffee and chocolate balanced by citrusy freshness.

91 Points Wine Spectator

Sweet, bordering on syrupy, but nicely held in check by sufficient acidity, allowing the coffee, sassafras, vanilla and clotted cream flavors to glide effortlessly through the expressive finish. Drink now. 2,000 cases imported.

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat (375ML half-bottle)

From Rutherglen, Victoria

Suggested Retail Price $22.00

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Amber-colored with an alluring perfume of apricot and dried fruits, caramel and toffee. Full-bodied, sweet, and complex.

92 Points Wine Spectator

Sweet and spicy, this sneaks up on you, starting off with pretty brown sugar notes and adding layers of spice, prune, raisin and fig that linger on the extra-long finish. Not at all harsh. Drink now. 2,500 cases made.

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Fresh and vibrant, with perfumed, orange-like aromas, this is an excellent introduction to the Rutherglen Muscat style. It’s not as full bodied or rich as some versions, but instead shows off the youthful components of the blend, ending with pronounced citrus notes.

90 Points Wine & Spirits Best Buy

Smoky and rich, this wine’s golden raisin and toffee flavors are clean and delicious. It’s a smooth, unctuous dessert wine for late-night sipping.