Australia’s Sweetheart: Shiraz

23 July, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

This month we celebrated the inaugural Shiraz Day, so there is no better excuse to discover a new producer in the category, or enjoy one of your existing favourites.

According to Wine Australia, Shiraz is grown by four out of five wineries and represents nearly half of red winegrape plantings across the country.

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While the volume of Shiraz exports has dropped, the demand for Shiraz has not. This is illustrated by the upward trend in the price paid for bottled exports of Australian Shiraz. For the 12 months ended May, the average value has grown from $6.10 per litre in 2015 to $8.57 per litre in 2020. This indicates that while volumes are tight, importers continue to pay higher prices to secure Australian Shiraz.

The drive behind the creation of Shiraz Day comes both from its extensive history in Australia, but also its enduring popularity. Shiraz is the sweetheart of Australian wine and Shiraz vines are some of the oldest in the country, producing a red that is held to a high standard across the world, and showcasing the diversity of the varietal in Australia and New Zealand.

This month, the National Liquor News tasting panel has tasted more than 100 bottles of Australian Shiraz and scored the wines across three price brackets.

Below is a selection of the highest scoring wines. And you can find the full tasting in the July issue of National Liquor Newswhich is available online here.

The Top Scoring Wines

 

 

2017 Shingleback Unedited Shiraz (96 points)

Region: McLaren Vale

Distributed by: David Muster (SA); Shingleback (Nationally)

“Beautifully made, waves of powerful fruit flavours rolls across the palate building intensity and complexity. Tannins and acid are nicely balanced and do very well controlling this wine.” – Michael Park, Dan Murphy’s Kingford

 

 

2014 Taylors The Pioneer Shiraz (96 points)

Region: Clare Valley

Distributed by: Taylors Wines

“Beautifully structured with supple tannins and great length – the full package.” – Bryn Lucas, Heinemann Australia

 

 

2017 Bird in Hand Shiraz (95 points)

Region: Mount Lofty Ranges

Distributed by: Bird in Hand

“An elegant and well balanced wine with good structure. Drinking well now and will continue to develop with age.” – Tom Czerski, NSW Golf Club

 

 

2014 Harewood Estate Reserve Shiraz (93 points)

Region: Great Southern

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

“Opulent and lavish chocolate oak, berried style. You know what you’re getting here – a big mouthful of dense flavour and oak tannins.” – Andrew Graham, The Wine Collective

 

 

2017 Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz (92 points)

Region: Barossa

Distributed by: Château Tanunda

“Chunky and generous. Has an assured, almost sausage-y savoury Shiraz character and a warm, generous finish. Good solid commercial wine.” – Andrew Graham, The Wine Collective

 

 

2018 Leconfield Shiraz (92 points)

Region: McLaren Vale

Distributed by: Leconfield Wines

“Peppery fruit nose as enticing as the deep red colour. Fine tannins and good oak bring structure to this wine.” – Andy Young, The Shout & Bars and Clubs

 

 

2018 Bleasdale Bremerview Shiraz (91 points)

Region: Langhorne Creek

Distributed by: Negociants Australia

“Appearance is bright and clear. Nose shows sweetness, like jelly crystals. Palate shows some more warmth, oak is evident but the overall wine has some nice flavours.” – Sabine Duval, The Wine Collective

 

 

2018 Harewood Estate Shiraz (91 points)

Region: Great Southern

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

“Medium bodied with aromas of baked cherries and Asian spices. Very good value.” – Bryn Lucas, Heinemann Australia

The Panel

  • Christine Ricketts, Wine Educator, Endeavour Group
  • Andrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, The Wine Collective
  • Andrew Stubbs, Manager, Vine Wine
  • Sabine Duval, Senior Wine Buyer, The Wine Collective
  • Bryn Lucas, Purchasing Manager – Wine & Tobacco, Heinemann Australia
  • Andrew Milne, Brand Manager, SouthTrade International
  • Michael Park, Wine Merchant, Dan Murphy’s Kingford
  • Salvatore Margiotta, State Sales Manager, NSW & ACT, Delegat Limited
  • Andy Dean, Co-founder, The Tasting Glass
  • Tom Czerski, Purchasing Manager, NSW Golf Club
  • Amy Hayes, Freelance Wine Writer
  • Andy Young, Editor, The Shout & Bars and Clubs

Judges Comments

“Alcohol didn’t stick out in any of these wines, a boon for the category.” – Andrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, The Wine Collective

“I did notice that most of the wines led with brightness of fruit rather than oak. Nicely balanced wines.” – Christine Ricketts, Wine Educator, Endeavour Group

“Australia’s sweetheart grape: these are all classic examples of wines displaying the love Shiraz has for our warm, sunny climate – and its talented winemakers.” – Andy Dean, Co-founder, The Tasting Glass

Editor’s Picks

  • 91 De Bortoli Woodfired Shiraz 2017, Heathcote (De Bortoli)
  • 89 Taylor Made Shiraz 2017, Clare Valley (Taylors Wines)
  • 88 Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2018, South Australia (Samuel Smith & Son)

Food Pairing

  • “A Sunday roast leg of lamb or anything barbecued.” – Bryn Lucas, Purchasing Manager – Wine & Tobacco, Heinemann Australia
  • “Any roasted vegetable dish would be ideal, charcuterie or baked/steamed salmon.” – Amy Hayes, Freelance Wine Writer
  • “Lamb shoulder cooked low and slow with garlic and rosemary.” – Salvatore Margiotta, State Sales Manager, NSW & ACT, Delegat Limited
  • “Protein rich foods such as red meat dishes or Umami rich dishes like a mushroom/eggplant lasagne.” – Christine Ricketts, Wine Educator, Endeavour Group

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