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Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine cellar


By Josh Reynolds

2006 John R. McLaughlin Family Shiraz Ram’s Leap Western Plains — 87
Medium red. Spicy red berries and cherry on the nose, with a kiss of cracked pepper. Dried redcurrant and cherry skin flavors are moderately concentrated and a bit tart on the back end, with a subtle spicy quality carrying into the finish. This is easy to drink but could use more sweetness and heft.

2003 John R. McLaughlin Family Shiraz Canonbah Bridge Drought Reserve Western Plains — 89
Deep, saturated red. Smoky, ripe, powerful bouquet of dark berry liqueur, cured meat, pungent herbs and cola. Fleshy cassis and cherry preserve flavors are a touch warm (actually 15% alcohol), with supple tannins adding grip. Distinctly ripe but not heavy, with good finishing persistence. Fans of the powerful school of shiraz will find my score low.

2005 John R. McLaughlin Family Ram’s Leap Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Western Plains NSW — 87
Green-gold. Peach, orange and fennel on the nose, with a minerally nuance. Crisp, nicely focused orchard and citrus flavors are lifted by snappy fresh herbs on the back. Juicy, pliant, nicely blanced wine, finishing with waxy, subtly honeyed qualities.

2004 John R. McLaughlin Family Ram’s Leap Shiraz Western Plains NSW — 88
Dark red. Jammy red berries and candied cherry on the nose, plus notes of mint and peppery watercress. Suave, silky and quite sweet, with a lushness of texture to the raspberry and strawberry preserve flavors. Lots of fruit here.

2002 John R. McLaughlin Family Canonbah Bridge Drought Reserve Shiraz Western Plains NSW — 90
Inky violet color. Deep, sweet aromas of crème de cassis, dark plum, vanilla, baking spices and cured tobacco. Fat and viscous, with outsized dark berry flavors and a lush, sexy sweetness that will appeal to fans of velvety, fruit-driven Shiraz. Finishes with a clinging, liquer-like impression of blackberry.

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