I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm just not THAT big a fan of Australian Shiraz. Whether the inexpensive, modest ones, or the more expensive, high fallutin' ones. My issue is a flavor component I call "salty jamminess." It's almost always there, and it's the one thing that makes it easy to differentiate most Aussie Shirazes from the French ones.
Not that I don't like them. I do, but I REALLY have to be in the mood for it.
I actually WAS in the mood for it the other night at The Palm. Had the 2000 Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Shiraz (the wine list listed it as the 2002, but I didn't mind trading the depth of the Aussie 2002 vintage for 2 extra years of bottle age). It's a really nice wine, and although that salty jamminess was there, it also has an overlay of oak, and some Bordeaux-like cigar box and pencil lead flavors as well. And great depth and serious length too (which I would expect from a vineyard reputedly of some of the oldest Shiraz vines in Australia). The only downside was a slight tingle of obviously winemaker-added acidity at the end. (Why add acidity to a wine whose ripeness and depth is its strong suit? It's like blowing a police whistle at the end of a great symphony.) Anyway, the wine went very nicely with a flavorful, crusty aged NY Strip.
And at some point in the future, I'm going to ramble a bit about what the heck ever happened to REAL Nebbiolo?