Also recommended: 2005 Shiraz McLaren Vale (86), 2005 Shiraz Barossa Valley (85). (Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL)

2006 Nine Stones Chardonnay Sydney New South Wales

($12) Light gold. Ripe melon and apple aromas are complicated by sweet butter, floral honey and toasty lees. Fresh, juicy flavors of honeydew, lemon custard and orange are strikingly clear and round. Supple, sweet and gently spicy on the finish, which displays creamy texture and good length.


2005 Nine Stones Shiraz Hilltops New South Wales

($12) Dark red. Dark cherry and cassis on the nose, with tarry tobacco and espresso notes contributing depth. A bit hard-edged in the mouth, with jammy blackberry and candied plum flavors and medium weight. The gently tannic finish repeats the ripe dark berry quality, picking up an exotic note of orange peel. This gained warmth and picked up some faintly bitter notes with air, suggesting that it would go well with fatty grilled meats.

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