Emma says: “I’m concerned that now I’ve promised Andy this wine will taste like one of his favourite crisp varieties “Frazzles”, that he will be disappointed if this doesn’t turn out to be a bacon wine.
My hope is that this wine really shows that beautiful bold fruit of the new world Shiraz but with that sophistication that comes from Barossa; that bit more complexity and dimension.
And wow, this Chateau Tanunda wine has certainly a lot of power. The aromas are really diverse, the fruit bursts from the glass, lots of raspberry & blueberry, very ripe but not too jammy. It might not have a bacon aroma, but it has this wild savoury character typical of Shiraz, smoky with an oriental spice twist. There is also a distinct molasses or brown sugar note which I always find in these wines; something that makes them very enticing. Plus there is a definite hint of eucalyptus, a classic note of Australian reds, apparently because the grape skins do absorb these characters from the abundant local eucalyptus trees.
Then to taste it is as succulent and rich as expected. I do love the way Shiraz feels rich and velvety in texture when it comes from a warm climate like Barossa. And paying that little bit extra (£15) for this wine has paid off. It has a real array of flavours from the dense red fruits to the sweet menthol, licquorice spice, then a hint of vanilla sweetness and brown sugar to finish. To put it simply this wine is GOOD. I’m glad I don’t have the bottle with me or I’d finish it.
Something I didn’t get from this wine is black pepper. That is a character of Shiraz that so many people tell me about but I always seem to miss. It used to frustrate me a lot when I was blind tasting for my wine exams, but then I read it is just one of those sensory characters that some people are more sensitive to than others. You might want to test which camp you fall into with your Shiraz.
For food matching, it is true that Frazzles may be your ultimate pre dinner match for this wine. But if you are feeling more sensible and want to have a decent dinner with it I’d advise food with equally bold flavours, maybe spiced or barbecued meats. Or for those on Veganuary you can go for padron peppers, roasted vegetable lasagna or tortilla.”
Andy says: “Australian Shiraz this week, and I’ve been looking forward to this ever since Emma said that it might taste like Frazzles, the king of bacon flavoured corn based snacks. She admitted privately that she meant French Shiraz and not Shiraz in general, so we’re off to a bad start.
I was hoping for something more from this full bodied red. There was mild tannin (that ‘grip’ you get on the tongue’), a whisper of smoke, and quite a short finish. It was lacking the punch in the mouth burst of flavour that I was hoping for. You know, that one that knocks you back a little and makes you go ‘wow, ok’. Actually, on second thoughts the finish isn’t that short, but does fade sooner than you’d like.
A day or so after opening and the wine opens up, and I get more fruit and mild hint of a jammy character, but still lacking a bit of intensity for me. Maybe that’s the idea… maybe, omg, I’m learning.
Still probably my favourite of the three so far.”
If you’ve read the grape guide pages, then you’ll know Shiraz/Syrah is the grape I have come to view as “sexy” through the influence of a Mexican winery owner. Yes, indeed.
When I thought of which particular Shiraz/Syrah we should taste I thought I’d have to go straight to the style I would put most firmly in that “sexy” camp. I might be wrong, but I find the Barossa (Australian) style Shiraz the one that has those wickedly enticing flavours, and that’s what we’ll be trying this week. It is all raspberry ripple, brown sugar and velvet in its texture. Plus, the alcohol is a bit of a devil because it can often reach 14% or more. [Warning – you might not feel so sexy the next day after that bottle]
Finding this wine should be relatively simple because most retailers, large or small, should stock an Australian Shiraz. So this week head to the Australian section and find a Shiraz from the Barossa, McLaren Vale or Hunter Valley regions. This should represent best bang for buck.
Whilst we really want you to taste the same thing as us, if you’ve drunk a lot of Aussie Shiraz before and find this a boring option, then try some styles a little further afield. There are some great Syrahs from New Zealand (Hawkes Bay), South Africa (Paarl), Chile (Limari or Elqui Valley), California or even Canada (Okanagan). Get stuck in.
Finally, if you are not a fan of ripe fruity new world wines then you can go old world and give us some thoughts on the classics. The region most known for pure Syrah is the Rhone Valley. Northern villages of that region like Cote Rotie, St Joseph or Cornas produce amazing wines of great intensity and they have more complexity in additional infusions of wild herbs, black olives and more earthy savoury notes.
Oh and look out for bacon flavours or aromas. For some reason good Syrah always smells to me like a packet of Frazzles. I’d like to know if anyone else gets that…