The history of shiraz is a potted history of wine. Begat from two obscure breeds – dureza and mondeuse blanche – syrah has a spotty history, with rap sheet to match. Sometime blending grape, partial highwayman, gigging food critic; wait, that can’t be right.
Ah, but the history part isn’t finished. Syrah found a home in the Rhône Valley, specifically on hot hilltops. Then, as if its adventures hadn’t fulfilled ten lives, syrah ended up on a vacation to a strange southern land. That land was Australia, where it took up an alias and began a new life as a marketing darling and public icon.
Shiraz is identified with the southern hemisphere’s big brown land, with good reason. The German-created Barossa Valley, north of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide nicely reflects syrah’s journey. From the 1840s, religious and political immigrants arrived in South Australia, bringing wine skill and culture. That was enough.
In 2017, this is the result. An entirely competent, drinking-ready, quality glass of wine. With its thick skin and specific terroir preference, shiraz thrives in many places, but becomes sublime in only a few. Hermitage, obvs. And in this distant, difficult and completely surprisingly land of drought, flood and difficulty.
Classic Barossa shiraz. Blueberry cobbler nose, full body, front-loaded taste, and yet after some air, the whole enterprise settles to deep fruit and spice wonderment plus acids and tannins. All in balance.