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Editor at large Harvey Steiman joined Wine Spectator in 1983; his tasting beats are Australia, Oregon and Washington.
Harvey Steiman

An Australian Red with Breakfast—Yes, Breakfast

Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Barossa Valley 2005

Harvey Steiman
Posted: December 9, 2009

While I was looking over the Sunday brunch menu recently at Lon’s at the Hermosa in Scottsdale, Ariz., one dish caught my eye. It paired a braised short rib with grits and topped them with a sunny-side-up egg. There had to be a red wine on the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning list to drink with it.

Red wine for breakfast? Isn’t Champagne the usual choice for brunch? Yes, but for a dish like that (which was every bit as hearty and good as it sounds), only a red would do. I polled the table, and all four of us agreed on red.

I spied Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Barossa Valley 2005, which had a couple of extra years’ bottle age and was priced on the list at a very fair $35. A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine has consistently earned scores of 88 to 91 points from me in other vintages. The sleek style plays against Australia’s image for big, heavy reds. I seldom taste this wine with some extra age on it, and the 2005 vintage showed a pleasant savory edge to the cherry and tobacco flavors against polished tannins on a lithe frame. 90 points, non-blind.

How did it do with the short rib and egg? Perfectly. Not bad with a shrimp omelet either. Balanced reds can be more versatile than many think.

WineSpectator.com members: Get our quick lists of Top Values and Easy Finds among Australian reds.

Tom Hudson
Wilmington, Delaware —  December 9, 2009 3:29pm ET
I prefer Tawny Port with my breakfast of meat lover's omelet, from my local to-go breakfast spot. I add some Fourme d'Ambert on top and, bingo.
Jonathan Davis
Birmingham —  December 13, 2009 10:05pm ET
Very unusual and intriguing. What a great way to think outside of the box for brunch. I will look at brunch a little differently now. Thank you.

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