in 2021, on the fourth Saturday of every month, the #WorldWineTravel group of wine writers did a deep dive into the wines of Spain with articles published on specific themes and a twitter chat at 8am Pacific:
- January La Rioja
- February Catalunya-Penedes-Cava-Priorat-Monstant
- March Castilla y Leon-Ribera del Duero, Rueda, Toro
- April Galicia-Rias Baixas
- May Cariñena
- June Basque Country
- July Cider from Spain and Around the World
- August Murcia and Valencia
- October Andalucia
- November Castille La Mancha
- December Open Mic– We’re Going with Garnacha! plus a review of the year
For 2022, the group decided to explore regions in Australia and New Zealand:
- Jan: Western Aus
- Feb: S Aus Red
- Mar: S Aus White
- Apr: Victoria Red
- May: Victoria White
- June: NSW Red
- July: NSW White
- Aug: Sparkling, Fortified, or Tasmania
- Sept- NZ N Island – Martinborough
- Oct- NZ N Island – other than Martinborough (Hawke’s Bay, etc…)
- Nov- NZ S Island – Marlborough
- Dec- NZ S Island – other than Marlborough
Since I am hosting South Australia’s red wines, I figured we’d start with the most iconic red wine of them all for Australia: SHIRAZ! Scroll down for all the details for how to join us in February for South Australian red wines!
I recently had the pleasure of joining a ZOOM all about iconic and age worthy shiraz from South Australia. But before I get to those wines, first,
what’s the difference between SHIRAZ and SYRAH?
Not much! SHIRAZ is what they call Syrah in Australia, and Syrah is what they call Shiraz in France (and most other parts of the world). Syrah started in the Rhone region of France, but now is the third most planted red wine and commonly grown throughout the south Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon. In 1832, James Busby brought Shiraz from France; while it is the most planted variety in Australia, it is in South Australia’s Barossa Valley where it made a name for itself thanks to Penfold’s Grange wine. Whether you call it Syrah or Shiraz, it’s the sixth most planted grape in the world.
So what’s the main difference between Syrah/Shiraz?
STYLE. If the wine is made in what is considered a more “Australian’ style — riper and richer, bolder and fuller bodied, then it may be called Shiraz even if it’s not from Australia. Syrah is more “French” in style: lighter and leaner. Australia is warmer, so the grapes ripen more fully consistently, meaning the wines are usually higher in alcohol. But how the grapes are grown, when they are picked, and how they are made into wine influences the outcome as well.
In general, there’s an assumption that Syrah from France is the more serious of the two wines, but as the recent tasting showed, this is false: both Syrah and Shiraz can be elegant and worthy of aging beautifully offering black and blue fruit, smooth tannins, and black pepper coming from a compound called rotundone which Shiraz/Syrah has in abundance. However, they both can be flabby and bland, or simple fruit bombs if left on the vine too long.
South Australia is located in the central southern region, and more than half of Australia’s wines come from this region. There’s five major areas to consider:
- Barossa Valley: one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious regions, famous for Shiraz
- Clare Valley: north of Barossa, it’s hot and dry climate yet dry farmed to reduce yields and concentrate flavours in its Chardonnays, Semillons, and Rieslings.
- Eden Valley: rockier, more acidic soil, in limestone and higher elevations meaning a colder, wetter climate ideal for riesling.
- Adelaide Hills: Coastal winds temper the heat of the mediteranian climate.
- McClaren Vale: south of Adelaide, the area gets 22 inches of rain, and has a diversity of soil types including sand, clay and limestone where Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc are planted.
I’ll get into more details about these Shiraz wines, both recent and older vintages as well as the various regions of South Australia soon! And I hope you’ll learn more about So Australia with us as well; here’s how to join us in February.
Join us in South Australia Sat. Feb 26! Here’s how:
- You have a month to find one or more red wines from South Australia to share with us. Sponsored posts and sample wines are fine as long as they are identified as such.
- We love to read about the stories behind the wine, how the grapes are grown, your pairings (successes and failures!), any travel to South Australia, or the story behind why you chose this wine or winery.
- During February, get your title to me by email, comment below, or post in the Facebook event under the title thread; no later than Tuesday 2pm 2/22/22 please.
- From Friday Feb 25 at 8am to Saturday Feb. 26 at 8am please, publish your post.
- Include #WorldWineTravel in the title of your article and add the provided preliminary HTML to link to other participants.
- Join our 8am Pacific twitter chat on Sat. Feb. 26 by following the hashtag #WorldWIneTravel.
- Read around, comment, and share each other’s posts about South Australia.
- Add the final HTML to your post which links to participants’ published posts.
What a wonderful introduction to Southern Australian wines and Shiraz! Will a fortified wine from red grapes from this region work for the February theme as well?
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Yes absolutely! There’s some wonderful fortified wines from the region! Cheers!