Shiraz is a well-liked little grape, often said to be one of the most popular in the wine world. It really started to make a name for itself when Australia started producing affordable versions a couple of decades ago. And with Shiraz production there going through the roof, many people consider the Aussies be masters of this grape. However, thatís not to say that any search for Shiraz should be focused just on Australia. This article will demonstrate that other winemaking countries have followed in Australian winemakersí footsteps and are doing great things with the grape.
Getting to Know Shiraz
Shiraz, for those who donít know much about it, is a powerful little number, which is sometimes oaked and has lots of tannin. It is generally spicy and fruity, with lots of oomph. Because it is fairly full bodied, it is a great match for food, particularly for heavier foods, such as red meats. Shiraz is known as Syrah in the Northern hemisphere, and although essentially the same grape, it often produces quite different styles of wine. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but Shiraz is generally regarded as being fruitier and spicier than Syrah, due to the warmer climate in which it is grown.
Shiraz From Australia
Australia has been making Shiraz for years. However, it wasnít until the 1970ís that it really made an impact in the wine world. Shiraz is now the most widely planted red grape in the country and is grown in almost every wine making region there. Barossa Valley in South Australia is probably the most well known region producing this grape and boasts some of the oldest Shiraz vines. The warm climate leads to a big wine with lots of full ripe, black fruits, dark chocolate and tar. Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and Coonawarra and Clare Valley also in Southern Australia, all produce some very fine examples of Shiraz.
Shiraz From Other New World Countries
Shiraz is not just about the Aussies though. More recently a number of other New World countries have been producing Shiraz to great success. South Africa, in particular, is turning to it in droves and although winemakers are still getting to grips with the capabilities of the grape, it is emerging as the Capeís leading red variety.
South America is another area doing big things with Shiraz. Chile and Argentina are both on the up in the wine world and are well suited to growing this grape. However, increasingly youíll find the grape being labelled as Syrah (despite being grown in the Southern Hemisphere) in an effort to give the impression of a more elegant wine. And just as there is no agreement on whether to label it as Syrah or Shiraz, there tends to be no single style for the grape, with Chilean versions, in particular, ranging from big, bold and oaked through to more reserved and lighter. The one thing that is certain however, is that whatever the style, youíll get a decent tasting bottle of wine at a very reasonable price.
Australia has earned a reputation increasingly of being the spiritual home to Shiraz in recent years and it does produce some fine examples. However, hopefully this article will have helped demonstrate that itís not the only place to look if you are after a bottle of Shiraz. Other New World countries are producing a variety of styles of this well liked grape.
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Louise Truswell works in the wine industry. She has been writing about wine for couple of years and is particularly interesting in helping enthusiasts enjoy wine, including grapes such as Shiraz. To find out more and stock up, visit virginwines.com/wine-zone/shiraz
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