The Barossa Valley is our most famous wine region – a place whose name is synonymous with dark, rich, ripe, voluptuous shiraz wines. Reds with soft tannins and plenty of alcohol, which drink well young but can be cellared for 10-20 years with rewarding results. The Barossa is 90 per cent red vines these days, 62 per cent shiraz. The other 28 per cent are mostly warm-climate Mediterranean varieties such as grenache, mourvedre and tempranillo, as well as cabernet sauvignon. It's home to some of the venerable family wineries but far from being a stuffy place of cobwebby cellars. It's also a dynamic region with many newer and younger winemakers.
Eisenstone Ebenezer SR802 Shiraz 2019, Barossa Valley, $75
This is a new brand started in 2014 by Stephen Cook. The name means ironstone, which is common in the northern and western Barossa. Ebenezer is in the north.
The colour is a deep, saturated purple and there's a chocolate, mocha aroma, which owes a lot to rich fruit and generously applied oak. The wine is full-bodied, powerful, penetrating and long, with chewy tannins that persist on the aftertaste. There's a little astringency to lose, which you won't notice with protein. A powerful shiraz with big potential. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Best drinking in one to 15 years.
Langmeil Hangin' Snakes Shiraz 2019, Barossa, $23
Langmeil has a jaw-dropping array of great and expensive old-vine reds. This is at the cheaper end of the scale, and amazing value. There's an explanation of the wine's name on the website.
With its deep purple-red colour, this has aromas of sweet browned spices and baked earth, a hint of blackberry conserve peeping through that becomes much more evident in the mouth. Its sweet core of succulent ripe fruit is followed by just enough balancing tannins. Impressive stuff and the price is a bonus. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 10 years.
Stockists include: Dan Murphy's Prahran (Vic) and Double Bay (NSW)
Magpie Estate The Fakir Grenache 2019, Barossa Valley, $30
Magpie Estate began in 1993 as a partnership between winemaker Rolf Binder and UK agent Noel Young, with the aim of promoting Rhone Valley varietals grenache and mataro at a time when they weren't fashionable.
The wine has a typical grenache colour, medium-deep red with a trace of purple, and a nose of ripe cherry and liqueur plum. It turns fleshy, rich and savoury on the palate. Lovely mouth-filling flavour and tongue-coating tannins, background spices, but the dominant flavour is the dark-fruit notes of very ripe grapes. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to nine years.