The Australians whetted American’s palate for Shiraz decades ago with a line up of inexpensive wines. The wines bore novelty labels, giving wine drinkers an often fun, insider’s perspective of the wine maker’s sense of humor.

As the Down Under wine industry burgeoned, the wines became whipping posts. Huge production and cookie cutter tastes soured critics as well evolving consumers.

The good news is that the Aussie wine industry is trying to regain a foothold, emphasizing smaller production wines that feature more care and handling. Sure, price tags crept up — but there are still plenty of Aussie bargains that drink bigger than the price.

Where better to start than the storied Barossa region of South Australia? There, a collaboration between world renowned winery Hentley Farms and their American Importer Vine Street Imports aims to produce a range of wines that display all of the flavors that South Australia can deliver at a price that won’t break the bank.

Boxhead 2009 Shiraz pulls its spicy, smokey characteristics from the gnarly soil that overlays shattered limestone slopes. Even with a solid rainfall record, these well–drained soils force vines to dig deep for moisture and nutrition — and that kind of workout leads to a luscious and well–developed mouthful of rich fruit.

It’s a perfect wine to sip by itself while coaxing out a veritable catalog of aromas and flavors. Otherwise, consider it a wine to pair with fatty, grilled beef, like a rib–eye steak, or sharp cheeses.

Boxhead 200 White is an anomaly in a region known for warmth and red wine  production, but Barossa also has an abundance of cool climate fruit, with longer ripening periods and extended flavor development. And a mouthful of flavor is what you get from this blend of 50 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Semillon, 10 percent Sauvignon Blanc.

Like all good dry whites, this wine displays great complexity of aromatics, moving from citrus through ripe tropical fruits, with specifics of lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit and melon. It’s an intense fruit bowl with lingering flavors of lychee and lime.

The wine sees no oak and does not go through malolactic fermentation, which makes it a bright, crisp wine that’s perfect for shellfish, fried or grilled fish and creamy cheeses. Serve well chilled –– and it’s also great to sip by the pool.



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About The Author

Tim Rutherford

Tim Rutherford

Tim Rutherford grew up in rural Kentucky – then left home to pursue more than three decades as a photojournalist and newsman. A ground-breaking meal in New Orleans in 1979 set him on a path exploring food and wine. Six years ago he changed career paths – now spending his time writing about the people and places... more

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