After taking a bit of a break, critics and consumers are starting to reignite their love affair with Australian wines. (Really, what worthwhile relationship hasn't gone through a time-out?) While some Aussie winemakers are absolutely guilty of flooding the market with gimmicky, jammy, sugary, high-alcohol fruit bombs, there are still plenty of fantastic wines from Down Under that are made with integrity. The next time you're at your local wine store, take a few moments to explore the offerings from Australia - you'll be impressed by the variety and quality. Here are two wines from Down Under that I tasted recently and would happily drink again. To learn more about Australian wines, visit apluswines.com.
Hope Estate Shiraz 2011
Shiraz remains one of my all-time favorite varietals. Don't let a few bad experiences with too-sweet and jammy Shiraz keep you away - when Shiraz is made right it is a thing of beauty and Hope Estate does it right. Hailing from Australia's acclaimed Hunter Valley wine region, Hope Estate Shiraz delivers peppery and spicy notes balanced by the rich flavors of berry and plum that are the hallmark of Shiraz.
Peter Lehmann Margaret Semillon 2005
A white wine varietal that ages with grace, Semillon may be closely identified with Bordeaux but the grape also has a long history in Australia. Deep yellow, dry and fruit-driven, Peter Lehmann Margaret Semillon from the Barossa wine region is a fabulous choice when you want a different sip that delivers beautiful flavors - an elegant detour from the ubiquitous Chardonnay.