No real links here, but most of the wines came from one Australian producer, Trever Jones. To fill out the list, there were three wines from Marquis Philips, also Australian. All of the info on the Trever Jones wines can be found here, and I came across a page with brief reviews of the Marquis Philips.
Trever Jones was there to promote his wines, and was an incredibly nice chap. Ruddy complexion, big handlebar moustache, and the thick, calloused hands of a farmer who actually gets his hands dirty. I got to sit with him for a spell while trying the wines, and learned a good bit about Australian winemaking. He hails from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.
Wine 1: 2004 Marquis Philips Holly's Blend. 100% Verdelho, this was a great little wine. Great fruit flavors, and a good sipper for the summer. This is an interesting grape, and a good change of pace from Chardonnay or some of the other big whites. Great bargain, too. $10.
Wine 2: 2004 Trevor Jones Boots White. A blend of Muscat and Riesling, this isn't as sweet as you'd expect, though it's not dry either. I had mixed feelings about this wine, but I know a lot of people who would love it. Might be fun with spicy Asian food. $13.
Wine 3: 2003 Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay. I'd never heard of "Virgin" Chardonnay, and the guy pouring the wine didn't know what it was either. This is the best thing about having the winemaker right there. "Hey Trevor, what's Virgin Chardonnay?" His explanation: it's 100% pure Chardonnay, made without oak. But putting "unoaked" or "no oak" on a bottle would sound cheap, so he started calling it Virgin. This wine had good fruit, a soft feel in the mouth, and low acids. While I love unoaked Chardonnay, you can get much better deals from Burgundy. $20.
Wine 4: 2002 Trevor Jones Boots Grenache. A favorite of everyone--this is a Spanish-style Grenache with a little Cabernet Franc mixed in. According to Trevor, this was made from vines that are 70-80 years old. I'd love to eat this with roast pork. It screams for a hearty pork sandwich. $14.
Wine 5: 2000 Trevor Jones Cabernet-Merlot. I didn't think this was very well balanced. There was a lemony acidity to the wine that made it difficult to appreciate the fruit. Might be a bit too old. $38.
Wine 6: 2001 Trevor Jones Dry Grown Shiraz. Good black pepper on the nose, and amazing black cherry flavors on the tongue. A great wine, but a bit steep for me. "Dry grown" means that the grapes were grown without any irrigation or watering, just from the natural rainfall, which tends to result in very low, intense yields. $37.
Wine 7: 2003 Marquis Philips Cabernet Sauvignon. I've had this wine a couple of times before, and have always loved it. Amazing complexity for such a young wine. Soft tannins, a short finish, and delicious dark flavors. $18.
Wine 8: 2003 Marquis Philips Shiraz 9. I first saw this wine a few months ago when I was purchasing a bottle of the above cab sav. The guy at the wine shop pointed out the Shiraz 9, and drew my attention to its 16% alcohol content, though due to the wiggle room in Aussie labeling, it may be as much as 17%. Way too much for a wine. It tasted like a thin port. It's not a bad wine, but I don't know if I'd pay for it, and I think it would be difficult to serve. $37.
Wine 9: Trevor Jones Sparkling Red NV. We were all excited about trying this wine. Unlike some of the Italian red sparklers I've tried, this was not sweet. It's 60% Grenache and 40% Shiraz, with a medium level of fizz. Maybe I'd built it up too much, but I found this wine lacking. There was a good flavor, but it tasted watered down, almost as if you'd taken a Rhone-style wine and diluted it with sparkling mineral water. $18.
Wine 10: Trevor Jones Jonsey Tawny Port NV. The Robert Parker review of this wine gave it 93 points, but falsely claimed that it was 46 years old. In fact, it's four to six years old. It looked more like sherry than port, i.e. dark brown like coffee with no red tint. And it tasted a lot like sherry, probably due to the Pedro Ximenez grape, but it also contains Shiraz and Grenache. A good value, but I don't think I'd buy it. $11.