Australian Shiraz

The premium Australian wine market has never been so exciting. Australian wine has had a rather rough time. From being the darling of the international red wine market, its fortune changed as a result of droughts, fires and changing consumer preferences, which then saw Australian wine struggling. Something we certainly know all about. Now, at this stage, if you are sitting thinking Australian wine is all too big, too broad with high alcohol, and not for you, please do read on. This was, for many Australian wines, the style of the past and, sure, these still exist. The modern face of Australian wine could not be further from these styles though.

It was with this in mind that we set about to explore, expand and change our Australian range. What you’ll find in store this month is a super exciting range of Australian wine. Amongst which, you’ll find Shiraz from Australia’s various regions, which leads to the point of this text – are all Australian Shiraz the same? Does regionality matter? Certainly an interesting question, particularly when you consider the focus that many of the top names have on blending and consistency of their style. The answer of course is that regionality does matter. Margaret River and Barossa do most certainly produce different styles, as do the other regions.

Syrah, or Shiraz as it is referred to in Australia, is a dark red, thick skinned variety, rich in tannins that have a silky elegance. Black fruit and pepper, together with a smoky leathery note are the characters you can expect. When grown in warm climates, Syrah becomes unctuous with chocolate and coffee notes and a prune character; when very warm, a porty character appears. This is the style found in the warm climate of the Barossa Valley.

Coonawarra is similar to Barossa in that they are both very warm climates, though the rich red soil in Coonawarra produces Shiraz that has overt pepper notes – characteristically warm climate shiraz, but with spice.  McLaren Vale is also a warm area for Shiraz and wines from here tend to be more open and breezy, and warm with a welcoming deep colour. One look at D’Arenberg’s Dead Arm Shiraz and you’ll know what I mean re colour, it’s almost black.

Hunter Valley Shiraz takes on a slightly cooler style, producing more leathery, early styles. Whilst Margaret River’s style owes a lot to the cooling water influences in this region, producing very polished and stylish Shiraz.

Throughout the month of June, we’ll be holding instore tastings every week at Glengarry Devonport and Takapuna. For more details check out the tasting pages on our website

On the 5th June, our Takapuna store hosts Grant Burge for a super exciting tasting, including a mini vertical of Meshach. Grant Burge Wines was established in 1988 by Grant Burge and his wife Helen. This highly respected winery is located in the heart of South Australia's Barossa Valley. Over five generations the Burge family has brought together the finest vineyards and traditional hands-on techniques with modern winemaking, as expressed in their classic Barossa wines. Grant believes if the right varieties are grown in the right soils, and vines are managed to produce low-to-moderate yields, the vines will produce the premium quality fruit needed to produce exceptional wines. With the combination of the best terroirs, the best climate and the best winemaking techniques, the natural result is the best wine.

By: , Wine with Liz Wheadon, Glengarry

Issue 88 June 2018