Cheap Australian wine has a lousy reputation, mostly from all of the wines with the livestock labels. And some of the lousy reputation is deserved. But sometimes, to paraphrase the well-known wine aficionado S. Freud, cheap wine is just cheap wine. And that's all you need.
The Wine Curmudgeon was digging through the wine closet, on a last-minute hunt for something to have with mushroom-stuffed hamburgers, when he found the Lindemans ($8, sample). It was late. I was hungry and thirsty. I didn't want to mess around with trying to figure out which wine would have paired best; I just wanted to eat dinner. And the Lindemans, with lots of cherry fruit, some acid in the back, and unobtrusive tannins, did the job.
Is this the best wine I've ever had? Of course not. It isn't even the best $8 wine I've ever had. But it is competent and professional -- and I can't emphasize this enough. Wine doesn't always have to complicated or expensive. Sometimes, it just has to be something to drink with dinner.