This winter, we are sharing a ski cabin with some friends and for our first dinner together, I brought four medium-priced bottles of Australian Shiraz, thinking that it would be the perfect type of wine to drink after a long day of skiing. The wines were tasted blind.
Characteristics of the grape
Shiraz is the Australian name for Syrah, a grape widely planted in the Rhône Valley in France as well as in California and South Africa. Viticulturally, it is the same varietal but Australian Shiraz usually exhibits sweeter and riper fruits than its French counterpart.
Shiraz is the most widely planted red grape variety in Australia where it is sometimes blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre or Grenache.
The wine regions of Australia
The first wine we tasted ended up being the winner of the evening. The 2002 Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz comes from McLaren Vale, a maritime-influenced wine region in South Australia producing excellent Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The wine displayed a very dark color. Its intense, fragrant nose was full of fruits and spices. On the palate, it was opulent and rich with a smooth lingering finish. It went very well with the spicy hummus we had for appetizer and with our main dish, a roasted chicken rubbed with Tandoori spices.