Shiraz is one of the world’s finest and most widely planted grapes. Originating in France, it shines as a single varietal and blends from the Rhone Valley region. It performs well in many different climates and grows throughout Europe, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Uruguay, South Africa and most of the United States. Shiraz is the most planted grape variety in Australia, making up 44% of total red wine production. It produces deeply coloured and powerful wines with high tannin and flavours of raspberry and spice that evolve with notes of leather and truffle. While there is great diversity in style around the country, Australia is renowned for rich, ripe and chocolaty shiraz from the Barossa Valley. Benchmark Australian shiraz include Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace. Modern cool climate styles show elegant, red berried fruits, pepper and spicy characters. These wines may be co-fermented or blended with small percentages of viognier for aromatic lift and suppleness. Shiraz is frequently paired with grenache and mourvedre in the quintessential GSM blend and also forms the basis for opulent fortified styles. Louise Radman