The Shiraz is a natural seductress of the tongue – bold, elegant and intense. It’s the perfect potion to allure your guests at a dinner party, or to impress that special someone.
Its Australian heartland is on the southern edge, at the Barossa Valley. Walking through the vineyards on our Australia Icons Luxury Tour, you’re immediately struck by the immense expanse of land and sky that sweeps before you. The warm, dry sun bathes your skin and you can hear the red clay crunching underfoot. Though the best vineyards mature after 5-10 years, the Barossa Valley has vineyards dating as far back as 1860. These ancient Australian vines feel gnarly and twisted to the touch, curved by the weight of time. Many are unirrigated and have their own root systems. They actually tend to produce sweeter
Shiraz than their Northern Rhône counterpart. As a general rule, cooler climates produce peppery, spicy wines with berry fruit. Warmer climates by contrast show notes of blackberry, stewed plum and perhaps even anise and chocolate.
Walking through the vineyard, you’re guided skillfully through the history of the land. John Busby is often considered the father of Australian wine. In the 19th century he returned from France and Spain with cuttings of several grape varieties including Shiraz. After unsuccessfully planting some in Sydney, he tried growing the rest in Hunter Valley where
they thrived. Tasting a glass at the Barossa winery later in the day, you feel the red liquid caress the back of your throat with luscious notes of new leather, liquorice, red plum and fresh blackcurrant.
It’s not just Shiraz that’s enjoyable at Barossa Valley. Combine your wine tasting with a browse of the art stores, or get the know-how from the experts who make these world-class wines. For instance, strongly flavoured foods pair particularly well with Shiraz including roast beef, barbecue, cheddar and gamey meats like kangaroo. For older, more intense Australian Shiraz try the Penfold’s range, especially the Penfolds Grange which is arguably the country’s most celebrated wine and officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. The Henschke and Wendouree brands are also recommended. For cooler, modern dry red Shiraz try Giaconda and De Bortoli. Whichever the brand, let’s raise a toast for as DH Lawrence put it: “If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night.”