Pepper and spice

This article first appeared in Cellar Press, 2009
Tyson Stelzer

Shiraz is a grape that’s more than comfortable flying solo, but loves the company of grenache, cabernet and even the white grape viognier. When shiraz is fermented with a tiny proportion of viognier, its aromatics are enlivened, flavours are made richer and colour, amazingly, is darker. The famous blend of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhone Valley in France is now at home in most of Australia’s shiraz-growing regions, from the very warmest to the coolest.

Enjoying warm climates that resemble its home in the southern Rhone Valley, grenache thrives in South Australia’s warm regions of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley. It’s at its best when blended with shiraz and often a touch of Mourvèdre, to create a GSM or SGM blend. The savoury, herbal complexity of this style makes it one of the most versatile, food-friendly red wines on the planet.

Shiraz cabernet is Australia’s most unique wine style. Many of the most famous reds in this country’s history were crafted from this blend, and there is no other country that has been able to replicate this quality. The rich plum and pepper spice of shiraz finds its perfect partner in the structured definition of cabernet, producing wines of seamless balance and longevity. This makes shiraz cabernet the most reliable blend to grab, whether you’re on the hunt for a cheap BBQ quaffer or something special to lay down for your next big birthday.