Few winemaking countries can deliver as much bang for the buck as Australia. We saw that last week with white wines from Down Under (BW—Dec. 3). It's also true with reds. Here are some that offer remarkable flavor intensity and gobs of fruit in a stylish, pleasure-filled, flamboyant style that is much in keeping with the Australian national identity.
Madcap Wines 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa Valley An excellent perfume of pain grillé, black currant, and blackberry arises from this cab. Supple and ripe on the palate, the wine is full-flavored and well-balanced. It should drink well through 2015. $18 89 POINTS
Kilikanoon 2006 Shiraz The Lackey (Barossa/McLaren Vale) This shiraz has a stylish bouquet featuring cedar, bacon, plum, and blueberry. The attractive perfume leads to a medium-bodied wine with intensity and length. $18 89 POINTS
D'Arenberg 2005 The Footbolt Shiraz (McLaren Vale) Fresh herbs, plum, cranberry, and black cherry aromatics emerge from this wine. On the palate, there are spicy blueberry and licorice flavors. This medium-to-full-bodied effort should last through 2015. $19 89 POINTS
R Wines 2006 Evil Cabernet Sauvignon (Southeast Australia) This cuvée reveals a fragrant bouquet of cedar and black currants. Fruit-driven and full-bodied, it will provide pleasure over the next 6 to 10 years. $10 90 POINTS
Jim Barry 2005 Shiraz The Lodge Hill (Clare Valley) With a 5% dash of malbec, this shiraz delivers a perfume of cedar, black pepper, and blueberry. Full-bodied and well-structured, it has tons of ripe fruit, excellent balance, and a lengthy finish. $12-$18 90 POINTS
Black Chook 2006 Shiraz-Viognier (South Australia) This blend exhibits enticing aromas of smoke, plum, and blueberry. You can drink it now, but it will be better with another year or two of bottle aging. $14-$20 90 POINTS
Earthworks 2006 Shiraz (Barossa Valley Aromas of smoke, sausage, bacon, and blueberry rise from the glass. Medium-bodied and ripe, it can be enjoyed over the next four to six years. $16 90 POINTS
Pillar Box 2006 Pillar Box Red (Padthaway) This full-bodied shiraz/cab/merlot blend has a nose of cassis, black cherry, black raspberry, and blueberry. Drink it over the next two to three years. $12 91 POINTS
Cat Amongst the Pigeons 2006 Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa Valley)Black fruits, espresso, and licorice aromas are met with ripe flavors and a remarkably long, pure finish on the palate. $15 91 POINTS
Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.