When ever I think of Australian wines I have two memories which come immediately to mind.
The first memory is that of being Officer of the Deck on the USS ENGLAND (CG-22) during a mid-watch in the South Pacific Ocean as we steamed South. It was a calm, cloudless and moonless evening as we sliced quietly through the dark waters en route to Australia. I recall standing alone on the starboard bridge wing and looking up into the universe above me. The ocean was pitch with only the slightest phosphorescence as the bow pierced the occasional wave. The sky was the clearest I have ever seen and the millions of stars which shone upon the sky seemed close enough to touch. My place as a human being on a ship in the ocean seemed so utterly small and meaningless that I laughed out loud. It was humbling and an experience that I hold close in my heart twenty-six years after the event.
My second memory was tasting red wines from South Australia. They were not very good.
Thankfully, in the nearly thirty years since my one, and only trip, to Australia things have improved in the Australian red wine scene.
Big nose on this one. Eucalyptus, dark fruit and cherries dominate.
A middle-weight on the palate with dark fruit quickly displaced by thin tannins and a brief finish. There isn't really anything wrong with the wine, but it isn't the sort of shiraz-blend powerhouse which I have recently come to expect from Australia.
That said: I like it. I paired it with a dinner of leftover Beef Bourguignon, pecans, dates and cheese. It stood up very well with the hearty beef offering.
All-in-all a great value providing a full, dry red wine experience at a bargain basement price. It is not full-bodied monster like some of the Yalumba shiraz blends, but at $8 to $10 at retail you'd be hard pressed to find a better value.
$7.99 at the Fort Belvior PX.