With today being Australia day, I thought I would use my blog to celebrate Shiraz, the best-loved vinous export from the land down under. While this grape variety, known as Syrah in its French homeland is not native to Australia, they have certainly made it their own in the relatively short time since it was introduced to the Country by James Busby in 1831 and since that time the spelling and pronunciation have evolved to give us Shiraz.
Today I have chosen wines from three family wineries in South Australia, each with its own set of geographic factors and winemaking choices yielding three very distinct wines.
Peter Saturno and his brother Mark oversee all vineyard and winemaking practices at Longview Vineyards in the Adelaide Hills. Making wines entirely from their own vineyards, they are truly cool climate grape growing champions. Their wines show restraint but have true finesse and depth.
Their flagship Yakka Shiraz (€14.95 down from €19.95 from Monday, January 29th) is a model of cool restrained fruit, balance, and complexity, yet still, displays lush ripe fruit. This truly is a stunning Shiraz, but you don’t just have to take my word for it, the 2015 vintage picked up a Silver Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2017. I think this wine would work really well with a Moroccan lamb Tajine.
Owner/Winemaker Kevin O’Brien’s Kangarilla Road winery is located in the McLaren Vale, ‘Kangarilla’ is an aboriginal word meaning a place with abundant resources. The vineyards are located on multiple sites and ancient geologies giving our wines complexity. Farming sustainably, using small batch hands-on techniques, Kevin makes wines with natural fruit expression, reflective of site and season.
Kevin’s Shiraz (€12.95 down from €16.95 for Jan./Feb.) was made using grapes sourced from several vineyards throughout McLaren Vale's sub-regions and was aged in French and American oak, yielding a wonderfully savoury wine with juicy blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with hints of spice on the lively lingering finish. This wine is crying out for chargrilled Rib-eye Steak with pepper sauce.
Of course, nowhere in Australia is more closely associated with Shiraz than the Barossa Valley, so for my final selection, I have chosen a wine made by 6th generation Barossa winemaker Geoff Schrapel.
Made from early-harvest grapes grown on the Schrapel family’s Barossa vineyards. Bethany Creek (€19.95 buy one get one half price for Jan./Feb) is a very elegant, rather European style red with slightly floral and red cherry characters on both the nose and the palate. The finish is soft and smooth thanks to two year’s careful oak ageing. To see this wine at its best, pair it with a fine fillet steak.