An Aussie six-pack
Sometimes things just work out right. There I was, strolling around my neighborhood, trying to dream up an interesting new approach for yet another article in this all-Australian week of wine reports, when the affable John H. Johnson popped out of The Wine Rack on Louisville's Frankfort Avenue, the world's only wine shop that happens to be within two blocks of my house.
"Psst!" he said. "Want to taste some Australian wines?"
After all, I'm tasting all the Australian wines I can find this week, getting my palate calibrated to the style as I gear up for next week's trip Down Under to judge in the Sydney International ("Top 1OO") Wine Competition.
By happy coincidence, Johnson, with Robert Camacho of the Australian-wine importer Old Bridge Cellars, was hosting an in-store wine-tasting that featured a half-dozen decent Australian items, all of them in the $10 to $20 retail range that we've been examining this week.
Here are my notes on all six, plus, for HTML/graphics subscribers, a label photo of "The Footbolt" from d'Arenberg. These reports are somewhat abbreviated because I reviewed the wines quickly in a public store tasting, without the deeper scrutiny that I try to give to my regular tasting reports. But I think I got a good overall sense of their style.
Stump Jump 2002 White ($10.99)
Stump Jump, named after a patented Australian plow, is a mass-market label from d'Arenberg in South Australia's McLaren Vale. The white is a blend of Riesling (64%), Sauvignon Blanc (24%) and Marsanne (12%). Very pale gold in color, it shows a light, pleasant floral perfume. Crisp and fresh if a bit on the simple side, it makes a fine aperitif or summer sipper. U.S. importer: Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, Calif.
Leeuwin Estate 2001 Margaret River "Siblings" Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon ($19.99)
Coincidentally, I had reported with enthusiasm on this same Western Australia wine in a tasting report last month. This tasting was consistent, although the flavors were somewhat muted because the wine was very cold. Clear, pale greenish-gold in color, with lovely melon aromas and "grassy" Sauvignon Blanc character accented by zippy lime. U.S. importer: Old Bridge Cellars.
Lindemans 2001 South Australia Reserve Merlot ($9.99)
This wine is a pretty dark-cherry color, with sweet cherry-berry fruit aromas underscored by a pleasant hint of chocolate. Its smooth, easy-sipping style makes it a crowd-pleaser, often seen in restaurant service by the glass. (Formerly labeled "Padthaway" after the geographical source of its grapes, the label changes to "South Australia Reserve" with this vintage to denote fruit from more widespread origins.) U.S. importer: PWG Vintners USA Inc., Napa, Calif.
Stump Jump 2002 Red ($10.99)
Clear ruby, not too dark. Impressive raspberry/strawberry aromas rise from the glass of this Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend. Juicy and ripe yet light in body. Like the Stump Jump White, it invites quaffing. U.S. importer: Old Bridge Cellars.
Lindemans 2001 South Australia Reserve Shiraz ($9.99)
Ruby in color, plummy in scent with a whiff of black coffee in the background. It's ripe and fresh in flavor, with fragrant Shiraz pepper more evident in the flavor than on the nose. Juicy fruit and crisp acidity linger in the finish. Good value. U.S. importer: PWG Vintners USA Inc.
d'Arenberg 2001 "The Footbolt" McLaren Vale Shiraz ($17.99)
This medium-dark garnet wine offers ripe cherry-berry fruit with pleasing, complex overtones of cocoa and spice. Good, ripe fruit and crisp acidity in the flavor; although it's no lightweight at 14.5 percent alcohol, you wouldn't guess that from its balanced and surprisingly refined flavor. Good enough that I bought a bottle to take home for dinner, with consistent notes; it made a fine match with a simple omelet filled with Portuguese linguica sausage. U.S. importer: Old Bridge Cellars.
Old Bridge Cellars' Website, with information on where to locate the importer's wines in the U.S., is online at
You'll find the d'Arenberg Website at
Click "Our wines" for a page with links to all their range including "The Footbolt."
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Friday, Sept. 19, 2003
Copyright 2003 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.