Australia: Easily Overlooked

A rising darling of the wine industry just a decade ago, Australia’s fine wine star has faded into near obscurity in recent years. After a long string of spotty quality and overheated monsters, I pretty much abandoned the Oz section of wine shelves completely.  Until last night, anyway.  Mistakenly stocked among some domestic reds, the 2015 Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz ($11) caught my eye in a 'what the heck' kind of way. And at $10.99, what the heck, right?  Besides, I needed something with enough backbone to stand up to marinated roast split chicken breasts.  Surely any Barossa red would have enough cojones to do the trick.

Well, I was right.  It certainly has the stuffing to complement even the heartiest of fare, but it was much more than that - and way over-delivered on QPR.  Full of bright and exuberant fruit mounted on a solid frame of brawn and acidity, it offers a hint of mouth-quenching savory that had me squeezing the bottle for every last drop. Tagged at 14% (which seems reasonable these days), it was on the right side of bigness.

Hopefully I can be forgiven for forgetting what a pleasure a simple shiraz can offer. Maybe it's time to revisit this region.