Shiraz: Australia's Sensational Grape That Started it All
There are so many things to love about Shiraz, or Syrah. It's seriously flavoursome, incredibly versatile, and as a wine, it's built to age. Shiraz has been a major power player in Australian winemaking since the 19th century, establishing itself within a few decades of being brought over. It's the wine we are known best for, and one of the wines we make best.
Some of our most famous wine regions for Shiraz are the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Hunter Valley. These are the regions that helped establish Australia as a tour de force in the wine world and by and large, Shiraz was the grape to do it. Ever the innovators, we were the first to blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz to make outstanding blends from everyone’s two favourite grapes. One thing is for certain, Aussie Shiraz is powerful yet nuanced, with ripe black fruits, spice and herbs, and it is really, really good. We've also taken the concept of the French Rhône blend and made it wholly our own; an Australian Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre blend is nothing short of outstanding and once you have a glass, you'll definitely want another.
In New Zealand, Hawke's Bay is the major Shiraz/Syrah region. In the cooler climate, the grapes ripen less than their counterparts across the Tasman Sea and are usually seen as being more French in style. Similar in flavour to a Rhône Syrah, a Hawke's Bay Syrah will often show pretty floral notes and a touch more acidity.
French Syrah is grown in the Rhône Valley and southern France where it's featured on its own or as part of a blend. It's one of the thirteen grapes allowed in the coveted wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but also makes its way into the ultra tasty red wine blends from Languedoc-Roussillon to the south along the Mediterranean Sea. Full-bodied, with black berry fruit, pepper, dried herbs and even the occasional smoked meat note (one of the reasons it's so delicious with anything grilled), Syrah adds all these flavours plus a healthy dose of tannin and acid to Rhône GSM blends.
Argentina's San Juan is also a fabulous Southern Hemisphere location to look for stunning Shiraz blends. Taking a cue from Australia, Argentinian winemakers make top notch blends with Shiraz and Malbec. On its own, their Shiraz is spicy, ripe, and a great candidate for ageing.
Shiraz Enjoyable in Every Season
Shiraz is the wine for meat eaters. With that smoky meat character it often shows, it's a natural pairing for beef, lamb, pork, and game meats. The bold tannins and bright acid are beautiful with a richer, fattier dishes like duck or a Scotch fillet. But never fear vegetarians! Shiraz is stupendous with a vegetable stir-fry, grilled or roasted veg and tofu. A riper Aussie Shiraz is wonderful with black pepper sauce, just mind the alcohol levels as high alcohol can turn up the heat on a spicy meal.
It's an excellent choice for a hearty red to enjoy with friends, and it can easily be enjoyed year round. A bolder, richer style in the fall and winter, and a lighter, cool climate Shiraz in the spring and summer. These lighter styles are great for during the week if you work early in the morning; the bigger, bolder Shiraz can be saved for the weekends or a large meal.
Shiraz Sippers Craving Change
Fans of this bold wine whether from Australia, France or beyond will love the rich, generous flavours of Malbec. It's a big, plummy, sometimes jammy wine that like Shiraz, is great with grilled meats and a must-have at a barbecue.