Marquis Philips 2002 South Eastern Australia Shiraz ($15.00)
This inky dark reddish-purple wine shows almost black in the glass, remaining dark even when you hold it up against a light. Delicious Shiraz aromas rise from the glass, black plums, fragrant pepper and methol shading toward eucalyptus. Big, full and tooth-staining, its hulking 15.5 percent alcohol provides a warm, almost glycerin mouthfeel but stops short of raw heat; plums and pepper, a hint of dark chocolate and soft but perceptible tannins round it out. It emulates the in-your-face style of the high-end made-for-American-critics "blockbuster" Shirazes, but flies off the shelves at a fraction of the price of the sought-after "cult" labels. US Importer: Grateful Palate, Oxnard, Calif. (Sep 15, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Red meat is Shiraz's target match, but this one went just as well with the robust flavors of Italian sausages with peppers and onions; it was a bit too much, though, for a side dish of fettucine with pesto.



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