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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Banrock Station Banrock Station 1997 South Eastern Australia Shiraz ($6.99)
I approached this wine with some trepidation, frankly. It's sad but true that almost any $7 wine these days runs the risk of crossing the line from good, enjoyable cheap wine into "plonk," the kind of wine that fails by being boring at best (as is all too typical of cheap wines from the Western U.S.) or overtly unpleasant at worst (as we too often find with low-end wines from Europe). But this unassuming Australian red, while far from fancy, showed about as much complexity as it's reasonable to expect from the mass market, even if some of the flavor interest seemed to owe itself more to oak than fruit. Do I sound like I left it with mixed emotions? At least I didn't pour it down the sink.

It's a clear, dark ruby in color, with woody oak aromas backed by simple but forward berry fruit. Sweet oak and rather one-dimensional black-fruit flavors gain a bit of interest from fragrant Shiraz pepper that comes in on a fresh tart-sour finish. U.S. importer: International Cellars, Chantilly, Va. (Oct. 11, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: The assertive flavors of a lamb and broccoli stir-fry in a garlic-ginger brown sauce worked very nicely with it at the table.

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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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