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Penley Penley Estate 1996 South Australia Shiraz-Cabernet ($21.99)
Very dark garnet, grapey and spicy aromas with a blob of buttery oak. The oak is more evident on the nose than the palate, fortunately, where it presents tasty fresh black fruit and a shake of fragrant pepper, with lemon-squirt acidity to pull it all together. Very Australian, quite appealing. (A blend of 60 percent Shiraz and 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.) U.S. importer: Old Bridge Cellars, San Francisco. (July 15, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Couldn't ask for a better match with char-broiled spareribs marinated in beer and soy sauce.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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