Tasting Highlights bring the best wines from our editors’ most recent tastings to WineSpectator.com members.
South Australia is one of six Australian states, located in the south-central part of the continent. Grapes were first planted there in the mid-19th century by European settlers, and now the South Australian wine industry is responsible for more than half of all production of Australian wine. There are several different appellations and sub-regions within this large state, including Barossa, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale, producing a range of wines, from crisp Eden Valley Rieslings to the distinctive Cabernets of Coonawarra. This selection focuses on Shiraz- and Grenache-based wines, two of the most widely planted and widely popular grapes. Australia’s reputation for generic, ripe and alcoholic wines should be kept in the rearview mirror. You’ll see a variety of styles here, from dense, muscular, rustic and chewy wines, to more supple, crisp, elegant and polished versions. Impressively, most of these bottlings are in the $20 range.
90 pts d’Arenberg The Bonsai Vine 2011
The black cherry, licorice and nutmeg flavors are robust and dense, set on a velvety frame, with a note of black walnut lingering. Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre.
89 pts d’Arenberg The Custodian 2013
Plump wild raspberry and blackberry flavors show a brambly, white pepper edge. Firm tannins turn appealingly chewy on the finish.
89 pts d’Arenberg The Footbolt 2013
Charming, with plenty of personality to the tangy dried cherry and cranberry flavors that show a juicy vibrancy, accented by touches of orange zest and spicy tobacco. The tannins are firm and rustic.