- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tintara, Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2002, $18#

Australian shiraz has become one of America’s favorite red wines because it so often is jam-packed with juicy berry

flavor. The downside, though, is that many Australian wines seem flabby and unfocused — all fruit with little depth.

Really good Australian shiraz solves that problem by encasing rich, generous flavor within a firm structure, the grape’s natural tannins and acids keeping the fruit focused. Its charm comes as much from balance as from opulence.

Tintara 2002 shiraz gets that balance just right. The wine offers plenty of ripe raspberry and blackberry flavor, but it never seems fat or heavy. Instead, the fine but firm tannins allow secondary notes echoing black pepper and Asian spice to come to the fore. The result is a deliciously complete, complex red wine.

Tasty now, this wine will reward cellaring as well. It also should prove versatile at the dinner table. The bright fruit makes it a good partner for barbecue sauces, while the structural elements enable it to complement full-flavored roasts or chops.

If you have been disappointed by Australian shiraz that seems all sizzle with little substance, this one will change your mind. (Imported by Franciscan Estate Selections.)

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