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Australian Pinot Noir

My boss Dave (at my other job as a magazine editor) challenged me the other day to try and discern the difference between an $8 Australian Shiraz and a $15 or $20 bottle. He seems convinced that the Aussies have mastered the art of the inexpensive, generic-tasting Shiraz, and that it’s not worth it to move up from the sub-$10 level to spend twice as much for the same type of indistinguishable flavor. I’m not at all convinced that this is the case, so next week I’m going to do a blind tasting to try and figure this out.

In the meantime, I recently tasted a Rosemount non-Shiraz from Australia, based on a grape you don’t often see grown in the country: Pinot Noir. The Rosemount Diamond Label Pinot Noir 2008 (about $9) is a medium-bodied, fruit-forward Pinot designed for easy drinking and it is. If you’re expecting a complex, earthy wine, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but for those who enjoy fruity Pinot Noirs like those from New Zealand, the Rosemount is right on the mark. Luscious strawberry and cherry juice flavors dominate the palette, and a medium-length, smoky finish tapers off with soft tannins. The wine gets an extra point for having a cool bottle.

Quaffability Rating: 88

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“Australian Pinot Noir”