Shiraz has become synonymous with Australia as one of our most successful grape varieties that has generated international recognition and solidified Australia’s position on the world wine map. The grapes used in the making of Shiraz are grown all over Australia, with each territory infusing its wine with unique properties and taste profiles.
Shiraz vs Syrah
We know that the Shiraz grape is actually genetically identical to the Syrah grape although its characteristics have greatly changed since James Busby, the father of Australian wine, collected the vine cuttings in France and brought them to Australia.
The difference between Shiraz and Syrah is more of a question of style, reflective of climate - traditional Syrah (think French from the Rhône Valley) are cool climate wines and will typically be more acidic and earthier- often referred to as ‘elegant’ and ‘restrained’. Whereas Shiraz from Australia is grown in warmer climates, resulting in powerful, fruit driven wines.
Shiraz is Australia’s most widely grown grape variety and remains a mainstay across most of our major wine regions. In fact, our Shiraz vines are amongst the oldest in the world, some dating back to 1843.
The Barossa Valley remains one of Australia’s oldest and most recognised regions for Shiraz. Considered the ‘classic, Australian style’, they are rich and full bodied with plush, dark fruits and notes of spice.
McLaren Vale is not for the faint hearted, full-bodied like its near neighobur in the Barossa. Shiraz from the Vale displays rich, blueberry fruits and hints of chocolate.
Try McLaren Vale Shiraz.
One of the first wine regions in the country, New South Wales’ Hunter Valley produces a more medium-bodied Shiraz with red fruit characters and a savoury, textured palate.
Try Hunter Valley Shiraz.
The unique volcanic, Cambrian soils of Heathcote, help to produce rich, concentrated wines with dark, complex fruit and iron-like minerality.
Try Heathcote Shiraz.
Also known for its Riesling, the warm days and cool nights of Clare Valley provide ideal growing conditions for rich, fragrant, full-bodied Shiraz.
Try Clare Valley Shiraz.
The cool climate and high altitude of the Adelaide Hills produces Shiraz more reflective of the Syrah style - elegant, savoury and refined.
Try Adelaide Hills Shiraz.
An iconic blend, Shiraz Cabernet is uniquely Australian. Developed in the late 1800s it combines the elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon with the ripe fruit flavours and richness of Shiraz.
What does Shiraz taste like?
Shiraz is typically grown in warm regions so tends to produce a full bodied style of wine perfect for pairing with grilled and roasted meats. It’s known for offering spicy tones of pepper as well as black fruit flavours such as blackberry and plum. Structure and complexity will vary depending on the region and the winemaking style.
Generally, a Shiraz is a dry red wine with the fruits flavours due more to the region in which the grapes were grown and how the wine was made.
How long can you cellar Shiraz?
To cellar your Shiraz - ensure it is in a cool, dark and slightly humid environment. A good shiraz under these conditions can be kept for ten to twenty years, or even fifty or more for the best ones.
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