The Southern Hemisphere: Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina

Until the last decade or so, most critics focused on Europe and California as the primary sources of fine wine. Yet the art and science of viticulture have flourished below the equator, and collectors seeking exciting new expressions of established varietals increasingly have turned their taste buds to the tantalizing Shiraz of Australia, the precocious Pinot Noir of New Zealand, the magnificent Malbec of Argentina, and the fine Cabernet Sauvignon–based reds of Chile.

Almaviva 2006 Red Wine Chile

This partnership, formed in 1997, brings together two of the wine industry’s greatest names: Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Viña Concha y Toro. Bordeaux varietals and Chilean terroir—along with decades of unrivaled expertise—lend Almaviva’s wines their astounding structure. This particular red tends to age indefinitely and reveals nuances of tobacco, cedar, red currant, and graphite. ($85)

Cheval des Andes 2006 Red Wine Mendoza, Argentina

Located in Mendoza, Argentina, Cheval des Andes is a joint venture between Terrazas de los Andes and Pierre Lurton of Bordeaux’s fabled Château Cheval Blanc. Crafted from Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine exudes flavors of mocha java, mint, and ultraripe cherry liqueur. ($70)

Felton Road 2008 Pinot Noir Block 5 Central Otago, New Zealand

Producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling since 1997, this New Zealand winery located in Central Otago’s Bannockburn region has quickly ascended to superstar status. This Pinot Noir has deep concentrated flavors and aromas of ripe raspberry, sweet cherry, toasted wood, and saddle leather. ($80)

Torbreck 2006 Shiraz RunRig Barossa Valley, Australia

Since being established by owner David Powell in 1994, Torbreck has distinguished itself as one of Australia’s premiere producers. Utilizing fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley, this Shiraz takes its cue from France’s Rhône Valley, exhibiting rich flavors of bacon, dark plum, tobacco, and chocolate. ($220)

Two Hands 2007 Shiraz Ares Barossa Valley, Australia

The Australian team of Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz shared one goal when they launched Two Hands in 1999: to make the greatest Shiraz-based wines from the finest vineyards in the country. This blend almost jumps from the glass, offering up ebullient essences of roasted meat, blackberry, blueberry, and campfire smoke. ($175)

Viña Cobos 2006 Red Wine Nico Marchiori Vineyard Mendoza, Argentina

The label is the brainchild of Argentinian vintners Luis Barraud and Andrea Marchiori and California winemaker Paul Hobbs, whose new wines debuted in 2005 to much critical acclaim. This release may be the finest example of any Argentine wine to date. Its amazing profile integrates expressions of toast, dark plum, espresso, and violet. ($200)

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