Wine Grape Varieties: Shiraz

Shiraz has become the calling card for the Australian wine industry.

Shiraz, (often referred to Syrah in other countries) first arrived in Australia in 1817 on board the ‘Lord Eldon’ with John Macarthur. The next major, and most famous importation of Shiraz was by James Busby as part of his expansive and well documented collection of vines he gathered during a European visit. These source vines were originally planted in both the Sydney Botanical Gardens and at a close relatives property in the Hunter Valley.

George Wyndham planted Australia’s first commercial Shiraz vineyard in 1835 at Wyndham Estate on the banks of the Hunter River.

Shiraz is a variety well suited to the relatively ancient soils of Australia’s key winegrowing regions, and Australian winemakers produce a myriad of styles from light bodies to full bodied Shiraz wines. Characteristically the bunches are long and cylindrical and are made up of small to medium oval berries, variously coloured from light purple to intensely purple black. The berries are prone to decrease in size due to water loss later in the season approaching harvest delivering a slightly shrivelled appearance.

Shiraz wines in general have an abundance of flavour, often with a perceived mid-palate sweetness derived from excellent fruit ripeness normally attained in Australia’s warm dry summers.

Aroma (by nose) and flavours (by mouth)

Primary fruit characters include – Herbs, spice, menthol, cinnamon, raspberry, dark cherry, mint, eucalypt, mulberry, blackberry, white pepper, plum, aniseed, licorice, blackcurrant, black olives, sarsaparilla, stewed plum, chocolate, jammy & raisin.

Developed fruit characters include – Chocolate, earthy, barnyard, prune, feral, cigar box, coffee, gamey, meaty, salami, savoury and leather.

Learn more about the varieties of grapes that make great wine visit Wyndham Estate

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