Pine Wine: Shiraz from lesser-known Aussie wineries
Arizona Daily Sun
March 11, 2015
by John Vankat
Australia is among the world’s top ten wine-producing countries and is best known for Shiraz. American wine lovers know Shiraz (rhymes with “jazz”) primarily through such Australian giants as Lindeman’s, Penfolds and Rosemount. However, there are hundreds of other Aussie wineries, and this column focuses on outstanding Shiraz from lesser-known wineries that deserve to be well-known.
Shiraz shares its name with a large city in southwestern Iran, which may be its area of origin. The grape has a second name, Syrah, and both names are widely used. Shiraz and Syrah are the same viticulturally, but the wines often have stylistic differences, with Shiraz generally having riper, fruitier flavors than Syrah.
Shiraz is the most extensively planted wine grape in Australia. Aussie wine regions known for exceptional Shiraz include Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale in South Australia, as well as Hunter Valley in New South Wales. And speaking of exceptional Shiraz, check out those from Australia’s 2012 vintage, perhaps the best in a couple decades.
Aussie Shiraz recommended below come from wineries ranging from Ben Glaetzer to Woop Woop — not quite A to Z, but awfully close. Each of these wines is a ripper (Aussie for “great”) and is available to Arizonans. Although few stores will have these specific wines in stock, any wine store can order a bottle (at no extra cost) and have it in a few days. Be certain to air these wines for nearly an hour after opening. Pair with beef, lamb, game, barbeque, red-sauced pasta and chocolate — basically anything that goes well with Zinfandel.
Shoofly 2013 Shiraz “South Australia” ($15): Another excellent choice in the $10-15 range. This fine bargain is beautiful in the glass, with deep, purple hues. The palate features supple texture, thanks to ripe fruit, and the length of the finish is highly enjoyable.
John Duval 2012 Shiraz “Entity, Barossa Valley” ($40): After helping Penfolds become one of the world’s great wineries, John Duval is producing his own wines. This Shiraz has a wonderful nose featuring ripe fruit and engaging complexity. The flavors are rich and refined, climaxing in a long, complex finish.