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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for October 19, 2000


Mugged by McPherson


Fighting Varietal is a term referring to cork-finished, inexpensive varietal wines made for immediate consumption.

...Charles Sullivan, California Wine Companion

The Rest of the Story

McPherson Shiraz 
Andrew McPherson won the fight. His $8 1999 red Shiraz mugged the competition in my latest tasting. Here's the scoop.

Australian wine imports to the U.S.A. have tripled in the past five years. Andrew's story is typical. Things are moving fast. In 1969 he was studying wine science at the University of Sydney (Austalia) and simultaneously launched the McPherson Winery brand. (Incidentally, that same year his current winemaker, another Andrew, Andrew Dean was born. Mr. Dean would develop his love of the land at an early age while tending sheep in Tasmania, but I digress.)

Thirty years later, 1999, things were moving fast for today's wine, too...

  • April 1999—The Shiraz grapes are harvested in southwestern Australia, 500 miles east of Sydney.
  • December 1999— After aging in tanks containing oak staves, the wine is bottled already.
  • February 2000—100,000 cases are released for sale, less than a year after the grapes were on the vine.

    How Drinkable Is The Wine?

    "Many winemakers make wines for the palate of other winemakers, We make wines for the consumer, says Andrew. It certainly worked with my tasters. The McPherson is the best under-$9 Shiraz (or Syrah) they've tasted this year, and gave it a RECOMMENDED.

    Just the Facts

    1999 McPherson Shiraz, South Eastern Australia
    Grape Source—The rivers Darling and Murray join and flow their last 200 miles to the sea at Adelaide. The Murray-Darling wine district is located at the confluence of the streams.
    Winemakers—Andrew McPherson and Andrew Dean (U.of Adelaide)
    Exclusive Importer—Brown-Forman, Louisville, Kentucky (Fetzer, Jekel, Bolla, etc.)
    Contact—Office of VP Sid Goldstein, (415) 444-7441, FAX (415) 444-7483

    Postscript—Down Under Wonders

    Efficient—Australia ranks 20th in world vineyard acreage, but eighth in the amount of wine produced. (Readers comments welcomed.)

    Australia has more wineries than California.

    Per Capita Wine Consumption—For every bottle of wine an American consumes, an Aussie sips over 2 1/2 bottles.

    And last, a.silly question—In Australian vineyards, which causes the most problems, the deadly Phylloxera insect, or kangaroos? ANSWER: Would you believe... kangaroos. There's never been a Phylloxera problem in Aussie country.


    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.



    This page created October 2000