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Coriole Vineyards 1996 Lloyd Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz ($54.99)
SancerreMcLaren Vale, a quick hour's drive south of Adelaide on divided highways, may be one of my favorite Australian wine regions both for touring and for drinking. A beautiful valley of rolling grassy hills and eucalyptus ("gum tree" groves, it's dotted with excellent vineyards, a number of them (including Fox Creek, d'Arenberg and this producer, Coriole) making particularly sought-after wines. This is their top-of-the-line product, made from 75-year-old vines and named after Hugh Lloyd, who founded the winery in 1967. Huge "blockbuster" black fruit and mint, oaky and complex, it's certainly New World in style but with the flavor interest to make it the group's No. 1 choice - and mine. U.S. importer: Appellation Imports, Annapolis Junction, Md.

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Wyndham Estate 1998 Bin 555 South Eastern Australia Shiraz ($9.99)
Abbaye de TholomiesLike the Pepperwood Grove, this is a relatively inexpensive wine (an even better bargain before popularity pushed it up to the $10 line) that's a popular product because of its soft, easy-drinking fruitiness. From the Hunter Valley on Australia's east coast above Sydner, it's a good example of the "quaffing" style Shiraz that Australia pumps out in tank-car lots. Menthol and black-fruit aromas are simple but appealing; fruit and acid appear in balance on the palate. U.S. importer: Austin Nichols & Co. Inc., NYC.

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Wine notes in 'shelf-hanger' format:
We publish Wine Lovers' Page tasting reports in the familiar "shelf-hanger" size and format, to make it easy for wine merchants or collectors to print them out, clip and post them where this wine is displayed. We do ask, however, that the Wine Lovers' Page name and URL be left intact, and that these reports be used with the specific wines rated, not different bottlings or vintages.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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