There’s a trend towards sweet, supple creaminess in a Clare Valley shiraz, as characterised by the produce of Taylors, and Annie’s Lane wineries. As one of Australia’s oldest wine-producing areas, the Clare Valley is a stalwart of silky, fruity, full-bodied reds that are nothing if not delightfully drinkable. While the Clare Valley is perhaps best known for its riesling, shiraz is also thriving. The region’s warm to hot climate, with a strong diurnal temperature swing, allows for acid retention and vibrant fruit, ideal for the development of rich shiraz flavours, especially with cellaring. Clare Valley shiraz is richly textured with great structure, and features flavours such as black cherry, plum and liquorice.
Heritage and heart in Heathcote
In Victoria, Heathcote is a shiraz heartland. Known for generating medium to full-bodied reds with intense blackish-purple hues, Heathcote is also the place where shiraz abounds in dense and spicy splendour – like the varieties from Heathcote Estate and Yarran Winery.
Heathcote is about 90 minutes north of Melbourne, has ancient soils over 500 million years old, and a warm climate, which produces world-class shiraz. Shiraz from this region is velvety, with fine tannins, and great potential for ageing
The magic of the mighty Barossa
In a yarn about Australian shiraz regions, it would be remiss to leave out the Barossa Valley. You can always count on the Barossa to deliver a solid and satisfying shiraz. The Barossa Valley in South Australia is one of Australia’s oldest and best-known regions for shiraz. Half of the Barossa’s vineyard plantings are shiraz. Some of the vines are the oldest in the world, dating back as far as 1843.
Makers like Peter Lehmann, Kalleske, Earthworks, Pepperjack and Grant Burge don’t disappoint with the dark, chocolatey (and occasionally, softly black pepper spicy) varieties being produced in the hardy earth of this hallowed place. Teusner Wines, another darling of the Barossa shiraz set, puts success in the Valley down to teamwork, care and knowing when to let the flavours of the land work their own magic.
McLaren Vale: Shiraz when it sparkles
When it comes to sparkling shiraz, the breadth of the McLaren Vale’s offering is something to celebrate. The region is typified by winemakers’ meticulous attention to the soil, an emphasis on varietal expression and a fearless commitment to experimentation. Standout wineries such as Andrew Garrett, Ulithorne, Pensilva and The Black Chook are seeing McLaren Vale break new ground on the sparkling scene. With this region boasting flavour profiles from the deeper, jammier end of the red fruits spectrum right up into rounds of gleefully bright berry high-kicks, you have the darker, more intriguing bubbles for your merry occasions covered.
The Hunter Valley: The old guard of Australian shiraz
When shiraz first made it to our shores in the 1830s with Scottish immigrant James Busby, one syrah variety was planted in two places: the Sydney Botanical Gardens and the Hunter Valley. Today, its descendent shiraz is one of the big four varieties of the Hunter Valley, which also holds the title of Australia’s oldest wine-producing region. Look out for Brokenwood and Tyrrell’s on your Hunter journey.
The region’s warm climate and shorter growing season results in wines that are medium-bodied with a distinctive savoury style. The region’s older vines also help create a distinctively earthy undertone. Complex and opulent in character, Hunter Valley shiraz shows good length, ripe tannins and ages well.