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Column: Wine travel through a bottle

Review of Australian wines from the Riverland
Oxford Landing Reds photo
A pair of international wines that will whisk you away to a tasty destination

Frustrated about the challenges of foreign travel during a pandemic? Why don’t you consider bringing a taste of foreign lands to you! Prepare to enjoy the smells and flavours of South Australia. And you don’t need to prove you’ve been fully vaccinated or you had a negative Covid test!

Last week I reviewed two affordable Australian whites that make for very pleasant summer sipping, the Oxford Landing Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay ($15.98 at Everything Wine). There you’ll discover the Oxford Landing 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon at the same price of $15.98; “B+” rating.

Oxford Estate is situated in The Riverland, two hours east of Adelaide, the beautiful capital of South Australia. It’s a former desert along the Murray River, which was turned into an oasis thanks to irrigation by a couple of Canucks, the Chaffee brothers. Not only are wine grapes now grown near the banks of the mighty Murray, the Riverland is home to acres of oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes; avocados, peaches, and plums. And the river itself is a world of its own, with peace, pelicans, and a pace that’s slow and easy.

Once known for its cheap jug wines, today the quality of Riverland wines such as Oxford Estate’s are getting critical notice for being well made and affordably priced!

The Oxford Estate 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon proudly displays a solid ruby colour with a cassis aroma, a sprig of oregano, some smokiness, and an earthy forest floor bouquet. I enjoyed the ripe black currant and blackberry flavours with a kiss of toasted oak, medium body, and smooth tannins and a lip smacking mineral finish.

Pair this Cab with barbecued rib-eye steak or a burger with Portobello mushrooms topped with melted Gorgonzola. And play some John Williams, the Aussie balladeer that you can stream on Spotify.  

Another red from Oxford Estate is their 2018 Shiraz ($15.98; “B+” rating). Unlike some heavy jammy Aussie Shirazes, I think this is a perfect Shiraz to enjoy during the summer. It is light and refreshing yet has plenty of complexity and balance and lends itself to chilling in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

Expect a bouquet with red, black and blue fruit, earthy aromas along with a whiff of leather. On the palate there’s that black pepper you find in Rhone Syrahs, mulberry, plum, and blueberry flavours with gentle tannins with a medium body.

Delicious as an aperitif it’s also “beaut” with a seared kangaroo fillet, roasted “beetroot”, and a red currant jus. But if that’s not available, enjoy the Shiraz with seared tuna or barbecued lamb snags (that’s Aussie-speak for lamb sausages).

Both the Oxford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and the Shiraz are available at Everything Wine River District in Vancouver, South Surrey at Morgan Crossing, as well as Kitsilano Wine Cellar in Vancouver. The Cabernet is also available at New District Wine Beer Spirits in Vancouver.

Join us next week for a tasty pink trip to France’s Provence.

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