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1995 vintage guide for Red Australia

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A poor year in the Barossa but very good in New South Wales and Western Australia

Weather Conditions

A dry winter and spring preceded a warm, wet January over the south eastern grape growing regions. February and March were generally dry but not especially warm. Later varieties like cabernet sauvignon had more difficulty than shiraz in the warmer areas like the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, while summer remained relatively mild, if dry in the cooler areas of Victoria. Just to prove how far from the east coast it actually is, Margaret River experienced a very warm, dry season which presented no difficulties at all in the ripening department.

Best Appellations

A largely disappointing season, 1995 did however have its highlights in western cabernet and eastern shiraz. Foremost are the cabernet sauvignon-based reds of Margaret River, which achieved exceptional structure and concentration. Next are some deeply flavoured, dark and almost inky shirazes from McLaren Vale, which made a better fist of the conditions than the Barossa Valley, despite one or two excellent Barossa shirazes. The warmer Victorian regions in the centre and towards the west of the state such as the Pyrenees, Great Western and Heathcote also produced some exceptional shirazes. Against the trend, the Yarra Valley even turned out some deeply flavoured cabernet blends of elegance and finesse.

Best Producers

Cullens distinctive and atypically concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot heads the list of stellar Western Australian cabernets from 1995, narrowly but clearly heading off excellent wines from Moss Wood, Voyager Estate and Devils Lair in Margaret River and Frankland Estates Olmos Reward from the Great Southern. Amongst some truly exceptional McLaren Vale shirazes whose vintage quality was a distinctive and almost sour edge to their dark cherry and plum fruit flavours, were superb wines under these labels: Rosemount Balmoral Syrah, Kays Block 6, Clarendon Hills, Coriole Lloyd Reserve and Maglieri Steve Maglieri Reserve. The best shirazes from the rest of Australia were Grant Burges Meshach and Peter Lehmanns Stonewell (Barossa), Bests Thomson Family Shiraz (Great Western), Mount Ida (Heathcote), Hardys Eileen Hardy (Padthaway, McLaren Vale), Henschkes Mount Edelstone (Eden Valley) and Tim Adams Aberfeldy (Clare). De Bortoli and Yarra Yarra (both Yarra Valley) and Redbank (Pyrenees) each made fine Victorian cabernets.

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