Forget fruit bombs, the real classics of Australia express distinctive terroir and harmony.

Memories in Future Tense - Aged Australian Classics

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Yes, Virginia, there is terroir and balance in Aussie wines. Once upon a time Down Under, before points, heavily extracted wines, and even heavier, deep-punted bottles, there were growers dry-farming very old, ungrafted vines on interesting soils. From the sandy clay loams of Barossa to the terra rossa limestone of Coonawarra and beyond, they made wines that were distinctly terroir-driven and quite unlike those from anywhere else. Sadly, with the rise of massively-fruited, expensive trophy wines and cheap critter wines, the classics were lost in the noise and hype and fell into obscurity in the US. With the subsequent–and perhaps inevitable–grounding of the Australian juggernaut, there is a generation of wine lovers who’ve never experienced the singular joys of aged Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon or Barossa Shiraz from venerable hundred-year-old vines. We are pleased to offer a selection of aged Australian classics from private cellars, and hope you’ll enjoy these singular wines as much as we do.  -John McIlwain

 

 

 

 

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Rockford 1997 Barossa Shiraz Basket Press

Rockford's Basket Press Shiraz is a modern-day classic. Made from dry-farmed vines from 60-140 years old, and vinified with low-intervention, traditional techniques, this is Shiraz that balances the ripeness of Barossa with the distinctive mineral character of old vine fruit. Blackberry, plum, cedar, spicy soil notes on the nose. Ripe, not blowsy, good mineral core lends drive and buoys the fruit; tannins on their way to being resolved. Maybe, just a hint backwards, but charmingly so. Though ripe, this is no bruiser. Bravo! Fantastic with confited lamb, would also pair beautifully with short ribs or braised duck legs. John McIlwain

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Wynn's 1994 Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon John Riddoch

When one thinks of Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Napa Valley come to mind, but perhaps equally compelling are the cabs grown in the famous terra rossa soils in Coonawarra on Australia's Limestone Coast. Founded in 1951, when David Wynn purchased John Riddoch's winery, Wynns Coonawarra Estate has made elegant Cabernet Sauvignon notable for finesse, rather than power. The 1994 John Riddoch offers up aromas of black currant, olives, balsam, touch of leather with dark fruit, and chalky minerality on the palate.  Medium body, relaxed tannins, fresh, lifted, with a long, sapid finish. This one of the benchmarks of Cabernet. John McIlwain

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