Australian Shiraz

This article first appeared in Wine Australia, 2008
Tyson Stelzer

It was shiraz that first rocketed Australia to the attention of the wine world, and it is shiraz that continues to power its reputation.

The warmer regions of theBarossaValley, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek remain the engine room, producingshirazof great intensity and concentration of ripe black fruits, toned with fine tannins. At the other extreme, the fine, savoury elegance of Hunter Valley Shiraz continues to rise in profile, thanks to a trilogy of strong vintages in recent years.

Between these extremes, the diversity of this variety lends itself to a plethora of personalities. There is hardly a region in the country that does not give its own stamp to the grape. In South Australia, the cool complexity of the Adelaide Hills contrasts with the spice of Coonawarra and the inky potency of the Clare Valley, while Western Australia produces shiraz that sits somewhere between the three.

It is Victoriathat is responsible for shiraz’s most eclectic incarnations, from the peppery power of the Grampians to the restrained calmness of the MorningtonPeninsula. The spice and charcuterie complexity strived after by the most discerning producers make the YarraValleyone of the most exciting regions to watch. A touch of viognier brings shiraz to life, and here the Canberra district leads the way.

Across the vast breadth ofAustralia, there is a shiraz to match every taste.