I've sung the praises of the Barossa area of Australia before, mainly in the form of Penfolds
. This area produces some of the best and most expensive Shiraz around. The 2003 E&E Black Pepper Shiraz has recently been introduced in the U.S.
It has a tough act to follow, the 2002 got 97 points from Wine Spectator and was said to be one of the best around. Stuart Bourne, winemaker at Barossa Valley Estate
, has been quoted as saying that the dry weather in 2003 put a bit of vine stress on the grapes. The end result was lower yields and smaller grapes resulting in a rich flavor with cherry, plum and coffee notes. The Barossa Valley Estate is sourced from the low-cropped Shiraz vineyards located in the drier northeastern part of the valley around Ebenezer and over 35 growers contributed to this vintage. Winorama in Australia
tasted this back in August and reported that it has black fruit and peppercorn flavors and has nice tannins, describing it winningly as "a luxurious and comfy ride" and giving it 92 points. The wine can be found for around $85.