Vin Connections Aussie Gold (March 2005)


Enjoy More Liquid Aussie Gold… Top Wines Under $30

Enjoy Liquid Aussie Gold! More Top Wines From Down-Under for You to Drink Up…

Early leaders in the “Varietal Movement” that has swept most of the non-European wine making regions, Australia is living proof that truly great wine doesn’t just come from France and the Western United States. They’ve recreated the classic Chardonnay and Cabernet in a style all their own, and made Shiraz a household favorite around the world. In the issue of VinConnections, you’ll find some of our favorites. So grab a glass, enjoy, and have a G’day!

  • This Month’s Reader Question:
    “Are all Australian wines really that good?”
  • This Month’s Wine Pick: Aussie Gold at under $30 a bottle.
    Shiraz: The uniquely Australian adaptation of the Syrah grape.
    Chardonnay: The second most widely produced varietal (behind Shiraz).
    Cabernet: Still a huge favorite the world over (and under…)
  • This Month’s Quote:
    Self Proclaimed Wine Experts: A definition…


Are Australian wines just built for show?

Q. “A buddy who fancies himself a wine expert told me Australian wines are just made to win awards and that “connoisseurs” don’t take the seriously. But I love them – why does he say this like it’s a bad thing?
— Brian Nicropolis, Clearwater, Florida

A. There’s always one in the crowd, huh? I think your “buddies” comments stem from the occasionally stated opinions of some (non-Australian) winemakers over the years, who denigrate them as “show wines” – that is, big, brash flavorful wines that are made to “jump out” of a line up of similar wines.

What is boils down is an opinion by some that Australian wine making philosophy is based on achieving instant commercial appeal at the expense of more traditional complexity in the wine.

But the fact is, the years have proven this to be nothing more than sour grapes. As wine drinkers continue to increase both consumption and enjoyment of wines from the land of wallabies, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef, critics and judges alike have had to concede. This stuff tastes great. And a great deal of it tastes great over time.

Personally, I love Australian wines, and admit to a soft spot for the wines from down under. Why? For the price, I think they’re some of the best wines you’ll find. Most importantly, the price/quality ratio you’ll find in many of these wines is remarkable. The vast majority of the Australian wines reviewed in our database were under $20, with several A+ wines. That’s over a 94 rating on the Wine Spectator scale!

Of course, as with wines everywhere, quality isn’t necessarily consistent from one vineyard or vintage to the next. So to put only the best bottles on your table (and much more importantly, the wine in them in your glass!) make sure to bring your friend the Wine PocketList along with you when you shop. And tell your “buddy” that the only thing that matters is whether or not you like it – the fact is, your expert opinion is the only one that counts when it comes to figuring what wines you like. Bottom’s up!

[Do you have a wine-related question you’d like to ask? If so, contact us and you may see it answered in an upcoming issue!]


Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay: The “Big Three” in Australian Wine Making.

Shiraz; The uniquely Australian adaptation of the Syrah grape.

2001, Shiraz, O’Leary Walker, “Clare Valley”
South Australia
IE: A+$20, Grade A+

Chardonnay; The second most widely produced varietal (behind Shiraz)

2002, Chardonnay, Rosemount, “Hill of Gold, Mudgee”
IE: A$13, Grade A

Cabernet; Still a huge favorite the world over (and under…)

2002, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosemount, “Hill of Gold, Mudgee”
IE: A+$17, Grade A+

Wine Quote

Our thoughts on self-proclaimed wine “experts”

“Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.”
Leon Adams, The Commonsense Book of Wine, 1962.


Understanding our System

Grade: [A-]
Our grades represent a composite score developed using our proprietary system to blend wine quality and scoring information.

Vintage: 1999
This describes both the year of the actual grape harvest as well as the year the wine was made.

Price: $12
The prices quoted in the WPL are the “suggested retail prices” quoted by the wineries and the distributors. Though these are close to what you’d pay at the winery, you’ll often find discounts of 20% and more off these prices at retail.

Individual Evaluations: IE: A, A-, B+
This represents the number of individual reviews and ratings on which the composite grade is based, primarily representing individual reviews in top wine periodicals converted to our scale, and ratings by our tasting panel.

Wine PocketList Exclusive Categories: WPL: BBC, W, S, B
These are four exclusive WPL categories, and many wines rated by the PocketList will fall into one of these special designations.

[W] Widely Available:
These wines typically have bottling of 20,000 cases or more, making them widely available in most regions of the U.S.

[BBC] Top Buy-by-the-Case:
Based on multiple, outstanding reviews and a solid history, these are wines you can purchase by the case to grow your cellar with confidence today, and into the future!

[B] Bargain Wines:
Top-rated wines for $10 or less. Most of these can go head to head with a typical $30 bottle sporting a fancy label . . . and beat it hands down.

[S] Splurge Wines:
For most of us, spending more than $20 on a bottle of wine isn’t something we do lightly. These are wines that, while more expensive, are well worth the price.

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