Shiraz

Shiraz also known as syrah and hermitage,Shiraz quickly spread to other warm climates throughout Australia and really made itself at home in regions such as the Barossa.Due to a combination of the suitable growing conditions conditions and the shiraz vine's easy adaptation to various soil types, it became a favourite variety with growers and win...

Shiraz also known as syrah and hermitage,Shiraz quickly spread to other warm climates throughout Australia and really made itself at home in regions such as the Barossa.Due to a combination of the suitable growing conditions conditions and the shiraz vine's easy adaptation to various soil types, it became a favourite variety with growers and wine producers.Large, heavy, dark  berries ripen quickly in the heat of summer and are largely resistant to moulds, provided it is not too wet during the last few weeks of ripening.

The flavours contained in the dark skin rise in tandem with sugars in the pulp and often shiraz can be picked with excellent sugar - acid  balances and intense colour and flavour.The conditions  in Australia are capable of producing high quality shiraz.Shiraz the full dark, dark, rich and fruity wine has a natural low tannin softness and combines perfectly with american Oak during maturation to provide one of Australia's richest and most enjoyable wine styles.That is why in the early days of Australian wine making, shiraz was often called 'burgundy' as it was soft, round and mellow, reminiscent to the new settlers of the supple wines of Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.

There  is actually a white light pink, in fact on the market, there are also light dry, supple red styles, slightly fizzy reds, medium - bodied dry reds and full, rich, ripe red wines all made from shiraz. Some are a little herbaceous - gently green and leafy on the palate - made from fruit from cooler growing areas. Others are so big, rich and powerful - jammy, almost porty - that some say you could stand a spoon up in them.Overall the flavours and aromas of shiraz are gorgeous - sweetly fruity, like black berries, mulberries and plum. Some people also find pepper, anise, chocolate and spice characters, which are enhance by maturation, typically in American Oak. Shiraz is usually very drinkable young but can also age for many years in the bottle.

There is not just one style of shiraz made in Australia. The Hunter Valley produces lighter wines, with higher acid and a characteristic aroma of sweaty saddles. The Barossa is capable of blockbuster wines but more usually produces medium to  heavy bodied wines of black fruit with oak spiciness and tannin dryness. The Coonawarra and other cooler climate regions add mint, pepper and eucalyptus flavours. Other variations are evident in the wines from newer areas such as Padthaway (licorice) and Margaret River (spicy pepper), all leading to an on going interest in the development of this versatile grape.On its own, while being a joyous mouthful of berry flavours,shiraz can be just a simple blackberry and grippy tannin style of wine, lacking the layers of complexity sought by wine lovers.

Blends therefore can produce the mouth filling elements of complexity and are well worth seeking out and comparing with straight shiraz varietals, especially among the lower priced wines.One development that the Australian wine industry leads is the blending of shiraz with cabernet sauvignon. Some of the very best and most complex wines that have been tasted have been of this wonderful combination.

Other varieties marrying well with shiraz are grenache and mourvedre. These combination usually end up as much bigger, fruitier styles when made in Australia. Sometimes you will also see shiraz with merlot especially if this blend includes cabernet sauvignon.Regions to look for on the labels of shiraz wines include almost every state and territory, as it's hard to find a place in Australia where the shiraz grape does not do well.  

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