2008 Magpie Estate, The Sack Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia (£14.65, Noel Young Wines of Trumpington tel. 01223 566744). I first met Noel Young around the time he started his company, some twenty years ago. We happened to be at a rather grim awards dinner and his black tie was already looking battle-worn mid-way through dinner. As it turned out he picked up an important gong that evening and, by that stage, he looked like Rambo as he punched the air and gurned at the crowd. A star was born. This independent merchant has racked up many of these awards for one reason only – Noel has great taste. Noel and his brother Daniel are highly talented, very aware, modern wine merchants. They also have a massive list! Noel also happens to make wine, too. His Magpie Estate has a superb range of great value, precise wines all loaded with flair and excitement. The Sack Shiraz is a lusty, brooding, damson-soaked, cinnamon-spiked red with immense appeal and a price tag that should be double. Other stars are 2008 The Fakir Grenache, 2009 The Call Bag Mourvèdre/Grenache, 2010 The Mixed Thing (an incredible and exotic red blend which is the leader in its field) and the flamboyant, top cuvee, 2009 The Election Shiraz. I would urge you to mix a case of these star wines and see just how clever his characterful chap is.