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Shiraz, also known as Syrah, is one of the world's great black grapes and makes fabulous, full-bodied red wines that can age well for decades. While i...
Shiraz, also known as Syrah, is one of the world's great black grapes and makes fabulous, full-bodied red wines that can age well for decades. While it has made a name for itself in the Rhone Valley and Australia, Shiraz has spread far and wide and there are now many exceptional examples found in countries around the world, including New Zealand, Chile and the United States.
Shiraz is enormously flexible and not only makes a range of wine styles as a single varietal but can also be used in blends. In cooler climates, it can make beautiful and subtle red wines, somewhat akin to Pinot Noir, whereas in warm areas such as the Barossa Valley there are few grapes that can match Shiraz for its sheer generosity and power. Shiraz has the richness and drive seen in Cabernet Sauvignon, but with the plush and generous fruit of Merlot. In addition, it can also be blended successfully with Viognier as well as other red wines such as Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The first Shiraz vines in Australia were taken from the Northern Rhone Valley in France. Here in the Hermitage and Cote-Rotie appellations, Syrah makes wines that are not only highly complex, characterised by meaty, white pepper complexity, but also have great structure and can age well for decades. Shiraz is also a useful component in the famous Southern Rhone appellations, such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Some Syrah styles made in Chile, Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand and Southern Australia also show these white pepper nuances.
The classic, ripe Australian style, made famous by Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace, is most commonly found in South Australia, and warmer Victorian areas such as Heathcote. These Australian Shiraz show multiple layers of blackberry and blueberry fruits generally matched by sweet new oak and forceful fruit on the palate. They are crowd-pleasers that have won fans around the globe, and often feature in our mixed cases.