Tasting Notes: Western Australia

CULLEN CABERNET/MERLOT "DIANA MADELINE" MARGARET RIVER 2004 ($75). Supremely elegant and refined, with great length.

FERNGROVE SHIRAZ FRANKLAND RIVER 2005 ($18). A lingering, luscious red with a peppery edge. Excellent value.

HOWARD PARK CHARDONNAY 2006 ($30). Zesty and fresh, with lively pear and apple flavors and a flinty undertone.

LEEUWIN ESTATE CHARDONNAY "ART SERIES" MARGARET RIVER 2004 ($79). Rich but remarkably refined. One of the finest new-world chardonnays I have ever tasted.

PLANTAGENET SHIRAZ MOUNT BARKER 2003 ($35). Echoes of black pepper and earthy leather enhancing deep plum and berry flavors.

WATERSHED SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON MARGARET RIVER 2006 ($13). A favorite WA white blend. Very crisp and vivacious; marvelous with fresh oysters.

THE YARD RIESLING "WHISPERING HILL VINEYARD" 2007 ($22). Marked by wonderfully expressive lemon-lime flavors, a hint of stone, and a very long finish.