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Shiraz redux

Shiraz redux A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a few examples of Shiraz that might be worthy of your consideration. Here are a few more specimens, which, for reasons of length, didn't make the cut. These wines are all available in Indiana through better retailers, such as Kahn's Fine Wines. Prices are approximate retail. * Madfish Shiraz, Western Australia ($18) Western Australia is probably the country's last great undiscovered wine producing region, as far as the American market is concerned, with only a very few examples available here in general distribution. Although this is one of the largest and most inhospitable desert regions in the world, a narrow coastal strip provides a perfect environment for people and vines. With a climate similar to that of Bordeaux, the Margaret River region 300 miles south of Perth is providing some of Australia's most sophisticated and exciting wines. Madfish, which began life as a second label, but has now taken on a life as a brand in its own right, is a fine, juicy Shiraz with no oak and an abundance of ripe, fleshy fruit. Plummy with notes of licorice, the concentrated black fruit flavors are nicely balanced with refreshing acidity. * D'Arenberg Old Footbolt Shiraz, McLaren Vale ($22) The celebrated d'Arenberg winery was established at the turn of the 20th century on the winnings of a racehorse named the Old Footbolt. A century or so later, winemaker Chester d'Arenberg Osborn continues the family tradition by fashioning some of the most intense and stylish wines in the country. This old vine Shiraz is produced without the addition of cultured yeasts, and is bottled without fining or filtration. For such a natural, untampered-with wine, this Shiraz shows an exceptional purity of varietal fruit and an extraordinary degree of balance. Long and fleshy, with somewhat gritty tannins, this big, generous red generally needs five to six years in the bottle to calm down and begin to show the full extent of its fruit. * Charles Melton Rose of Virginia, Barossa Valley ($18) OK, so it's not strictly speaking a Shiraz. This beauty of a pink wine is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, and comes from one of the world's great maverick winemakers. If hitherto you have turned your nose up at all wines pink, then think again. More like a light red than a white, this powerhouse offers deep, focused flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, with fabulous balancing acidity and a persistent finish. Vibrant and succulent, this is the perfect summertime porch wine.

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