Strong Arms From Down Under

strongI love Australian Shiraz. I’ll admit it right up front.

I love it when I want a balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred, in-your-face wine experience.

Australian is not elegant like Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. Or austere like Bordeaux.

Australian Shiraz is not “food wine,” if food wine means a low-key beverage that enhances flavors without making  a statement of its own. Instead, it’s all about ripe, rich, opulent fruit.

So this post is about my latest Aussie wine experience. This one is called Strong Arms Shiraz 2008, and it’s been available to American wine drinkers thanks to a fabulous importer called Grateful Palate Imports. Well, it was available, until Grateful Palate went out of business. I think this is a huge loss to U.S. wine drinkers, and I’d happily do anything I could to bring them back.

But let’s try to appreciate this wine for what it is. Strong Arms is just what it says: a strong expression of the fruit that’s endemic to Australia. This country, that was formed by hard-ass convicts and regularly deals with ridiculous extremes of climate, is capable of producing wines that are bold but juicy, and represent great value for stateside wine drinkers.

Strong Arms 2008 is a classic Shiraz. The nose jumps out of the glass with black raspberry fruit and just a little bit of spice. The palate  is just as rich, with boatloads of up-front raspberry cream. It’s not jammy, mind you — the weight is right for a wine that can be enjoyed with food, or without.

I sure hope this wine continues to be available n the U.S., and that we see a resurrection of the Down Under wineries represented by Grateful Palate Imports. I’d buy them, and back them, all the way. Cheers!

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