We decided upon the 10 most undervalued Australian Reds based on the following 7 key criteria: -1-Brand -2-Producer History -3-Vintage -4-Critics Ratings -5- Production/Supply Availability -6-Comparative Price Analysis -7-Drinking Windows 

This method/criteria is widely used in the International Fine Wine market, to look for wines that are lagging behind their peers in comparative pricing, as it’s money (price) that tells us wether a wine is underrated or not.
From a collectors objective it’s better to buy these wines within a year of release, which results in paying a lot less in the future. As we do know, that future supply/demand imbalances will place greater pressure on current and future prices, and make these wines harder to source. Only the top vintages of 2010, 2012, 2013 were used for comparisons.

My Top 10 Most Underrated/Undervalued Australian Reds

In Alphabetical Order

-1- AMON-Ra  Shiraz by Ben Glaetzer  (Barossa Valley)
Ben Glaetzer has now released 12 vintages of it’s top Shiraz Amon-Ra. The maximum 1,000 case production is produced from exceptional fruit that is sourced from 80-110 year old vineyards. It is aged on lees for 14 months in 100% new oak; 95% French and 5% American, adding smoke, toast, cedar, brioche, notes of pineapple, which harmonises the fruits power further. The key to Amon Ra is the balance of fruit and tannin extraction.

The House of Glaetzer has a long history with the Barossa Valley, and couple this with exceptional Wine Advocate scores in 2010, 2012, 2013 the Amon Ra profile is growing. Production is a 1,000 cases per year on average and there is no intention of increasing volume. In the past year I’ve seen interest coming from Asia, and the Amon Ra  sells in the Asian, American, and UK markets at a premium price compared to Australia.

-2- Giaconda Estate Shiraz (Beechworth-Victora)
Rick Kinzbrunner sells his wines through an En Primeur system, such is forward demand.The Estate Shiraz is grown on granite/schist soils, inducing low yields.The ‘Estate’ is co-blended with a small portion of Viognier and whole bunches are used, too add perfume and lift. Maturation takes place in 40% new French oak for two years.

Giaconda has a huge reputation for first class wines. The 2013 Shiraz vintage was only the 5th release, and it’s profile is building. Production of the Estate Shiraz is 250-350 cases per year dependant on vintage. Due to sales following an En Primeur system, it can be hard to source from retailers, expect to pay $70-80 per bottle. It’s closest peer group would likely be top line Cote Rotie’s from the Northern Rhone, which fetch triple digit prices an upwards.

-3- Jamsheed ‘Garden Gully’ Syrah (Great Western-Victora)                                                      Winemaker Gary Mills started the Jamsheed label in 2003 with a focus on single vineyard Syrah, after a working stint at Ridge Vineyards, California. The ‘Garden Gully’ Syrah is produced from handpicked vines planted in the 1890’s in the Great Western region of Central Victoria. The soil profile here is (clay over ironstone) and the grapes are fermented as 50% whole bunches with indigenous yeasts and 40 day extended maceration. Maturation takes place in old hogsheads and puncheons and left sur lees for 10 months.

Labelled Syrah this wine takes it’s lead from the Northern Rhone. Quoting Matthew Jukes “If you love Clape, Chave or Rostaing you will fight to get a case of this wine.”
Established in 2003 the packaging is as smart as the wine, all 350 cases of it. A real velvet charmer, with vivid brambly fruit,olive notes and a fair kick of dusty tannins. It sells for $50-55 and comparisons to Northern Rhone Syrah, make this wine look undervalued. Will keep for 20+ years.

-4- Kalleske ‘Greenock Vineyard’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
In 2002, after 149 years of farming and grape growing by Troy’s family, Troy and his brother, Tony, took the next step and established the Kalleske winery. The 16 Acre Greenock Vineyard is grown in sandy loam soils over deep red clay, with yields of 1.5tonnes/acre.The wine spends 15-days on skins before it’s basket-pressed into a mix of 30% New French/American oak hogsheads for 18-months.

The 2013 was rated 98 points in Halliday’s Wine Companion. With production set at 1,400 cases per year on average, and I think a supply/demand imbalance in the near future will see it’s price rise from the current retail price of $40-45 per bottle.
It is pure slice of Barossa, with it’s powerful,chocolate, plum and fruit cake flavours married with solid structural tannins and long length. Will keep for 20+ years.

-5- Langmeil ‘Orphan Bank’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
The Lindner Brothers ‘Orphan Bank’ Shiraz is testament to Langmeil’s commitment to preserving old and rare Barossa vineyards. Ten rows of Shiraz planted pre-1860 were saved from the developer’s bulldozer and replanted alongside the original Langmeil vineyard on the banks of the River Para. The Lindner family’s vision is to highlight the rare qualities of old vine Shiraz using hands-on winemaking techniques. Gentle destemming, open fermentation, basket pressing and two years in 50% new French oak accentuate the natural fruit intensity and structure.

The switch to French barriques, has added an elegance to the ‘Orphan Bank’ which sells for less than half the price of the more iconic Langmeil ‘Freedom’ Shiraz. Production here is small, but brand recognition is the missing ingredient, that is likely to change as more vintages are released.
Juicy raspberries and Satsuma plum fills the mouth, with lovely oak sweetness adding to the mouthfeel. The fruit is wonderfully balanced with briary and white pepper spice and textured, fine tannins. In the top vintages like 2010,2012,2013 it has a 20-year drinking window.

-6- Leeuwin Est ‘Art Series’ Cabernet (Margaret River)
The “Art Series” represents Leeuwin’s most opulent and age-worthy wines and are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian Artists. The Horgan family set to work on a new vineyard programme to refine its Cabernet. The best batches of fruit come from their 38-year-old ‘Home Block’ vineyards, where the free-draining gravelly soils produce low yields, of optimum ripeness. The Cabernet is graded and blended, and spends 2-years in 50% new Alliers French oak.

The breakthrough 2010 vintage, topped the Decanter Magazine Australian Cabernet Tasting, rated Outstanding and 95+ Points and was included in Decanter’s Top 50 wines of 2014. When compared to market leaders Moss Wood & Cullen, Leeuwin still offers great value at it’s $60-65 price tag, and has strong brand recognition.

-7- Olivers Taranga ‘HJ Reserve’ Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
Started by their Great,Great,Great Grandfathers the Olivers have recently celebrated 170-years of continuous grape growing and family ownership. Fruit for the H.J. is sourced from a single block planted in 1948. The soon to be released 2012, will be the tenth release to date. It sees 50% new French Oak and spends 30-months in barrel.

The Taranga vineyard has 4 blocks of old vine shiraz that are part of the Penfolds Grange Growers Club, and in the 2009,2010,2011,2012 vintages were included in Penfolds Grange.
The Grange Factor can’t be overlooked if the fruit is this good, parallel thinking puts the ‘HJ Reserve’ in the seriously undervalued category, at $50-55 per bottle.
Corrina Wright Winemaker says of the HJ Reserve “Dark chocolate, violet florals, sweet spices, slight char and blackberry characters meld beautifully with the layers of fine grained tannins. Seriously generous and rich.” HJ Reserve Production is around 600 cases.

-8- Penfolds ‘St.Henri’ Shiraz (South Australia)
In the 1950’s John Davoren was tasked with fashioning Penfolds St Henri, created deliberately to challenge Penfold’s Grange. In total contrast to Penfolds Grange, St.Henri is matured in old 1,460 litre vats, which encourage the wine to display the fantastic fruit concentration that is derived from the vineyard’s old vines.
When you consider that a case of six St.Henri costs less than one bottle of Penfolds Grange this is one of the best Shiraz’s money can buy for only $75-85 a bottle, stunning, and hugely undervalued!

The wine has the potential to improve for 30 years in bottle and displays incredibly rich fruit with wonderful purity, expressing elegant blueberries, its tell-tale of flavours mocha, menthol and meat, with a touch of cedar, liquorice and wonderful sweet spice and leather. Vintages 2010 and 2012 are standouts.

-9- Shaw + Smith Shiraz (Adelaide Hills)
Shaw + Smith Shiraz is a medium bodied cool-climate Shiraz, in which balance is more important than power.The grapes are grown in free draining sandy loam over red clay soils with underlying quartzite and shale.
Hand picked, crushed and fermented on skins in small fermenters with hand plunging and gentle pumping over to extract colour, flavour and tannin. Then aged in French barriques with special care taken not to over oak the wine and maintain fruit integrity.

Great news from London… the 2012 Shaw + Smith Shiraz has just been announced as the ‘Best Australian Red’ and has been awarded 3 Trophies from the International Wine Challenge (IWC).The follow up 2013 has also been rated a huge 97 points by James Halliday. Priced at $40-45 per bottle this offers amazing value!

-10- Two Hands ‘Bella’s Garden’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999, with ‘Bella’s Garden’ being a blend of their finest barrels of Barossa Shiraz. A grading process often sees 30% of production declassified to maintain quality. each block of fruit is vinified and aged individually, prior to blending. Aged for 18-months in French oak with 16% being new. Production is 3,500 – 4,500 cases per year, most of which is exported to the USA and World markets.

On 4 seperate occasions the ‘Bella’s Garden’ Shiraz has ranked in The Wine Spectator Top 10 wines of the year. It sells in the USA, Asian, and UK markets at a premium price compared to Australia, largely due to it’s lower domestic profile. Will cellar for the required 20-years, with vintages 2010, 2012, 2013 as standouts.