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|Coriole Vineyards 1996 Lloyd Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz ($54.99)|
McLaren 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.
|Wyndham Estate 1998 Bin 555 South Eastern Australia Shiraz ($9.99)|
Like 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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