Victoria, Australia, $20
Bacchus: Available in the District at Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Pearson’s, Rodman’s; on the list at the Coupe, Old Ebbitt Grill. Available in Maryland at Columbia Palace Wine & Spirits in Columbia; Edgewater Liquors; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Harborview Liquors, Quarry Wine & Spirits and Wine Source in Baltimore; McHenry Beverage Shoppe. On the list at Red Maple in Baltimore.
McLaren Vale, Australia, $40
This is a fascinating blend of two Portuguese varieties: touriga nacional, one of the main grapes in port and the fine red wines of the Douro Valley, and tinta negra molle, a grape more common to Madeira. Add a judicious splash of cabernet sauvignon and you have a blend that defies convention. Winemaker Justin Lane explains that the Portuguese varieties were common in Australia for fortified wines before the modern desire for table wines spurred growers to change most vineyards over to syrah (shiraz) and cabernet sauvignon. Alcohol: 14 percent.
Vine Street Imports/Lanterna in the District and Maryland; J.W. Sieg in Virginia: Available in the District at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Virginia in mid-March.
McLaren Vale, Australia, $25
Vine Street Imports/Lanterna in the District and Maryland; J.W. Sieg in Virginia: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Virginia at Downtown Wine & Gourmet in Harrisonburg, D’Vine Wines in Winchester, Grape + Bean in Alexandria; Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
★★1 / 2
Pyrenees, Australia, $20
Vine Street Imports/Lanterna in the District and Maryland, J.W. Sieg in Virginia: Available in the District at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Virginia in mid-March.
South Australia, $13
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at AB Liquors, Best in Liquors, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Wagner’s Liquor. Available in Maryland at Village Liquors of Clarksville; Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel; Dogwood Liquor in Windsor Mill; Fairgrounds Discount Beverages and Swirl Wine in Timonium; Jason’s Wine & Spirits and Olde Tyme Liquors in Ellicott City; Lyndwood Square Wine and Spirits in Elkridge; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Wine Source in Baltimore; World Gourmet Wine & Beer in Potomac.
r r rExceptional r rExcellent rVery Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are some Australian red wines that show restraint but capture the spicy characteristics of Australia. They are ripe. They taste sweet. Yet they are not over the top with alcohol.
The Vine Street Imports wines listed below are new to the area market and should have wider distribution in a few weeks.— D.M.