Barossa Shiraz Makes a Name for Itself

By Nia Lawrence

If you are new to wine tasting and would really like to learn how to distinguish one Peter Lehmann Shiraz from its cabernet sauvignon counterpart, the best time to do it would be the Barossa Vintage Festival. This festival was first established in 2005 and has been an ongoing tourist attraction every two years since. It is always scheduled to begin every Easter Monday of that particular year, and would last one whole week of wine tasting and auctioning of vintage wine.

The grape variant Shiraz, also known as Syrah in Europe, originally thrived in France and Spain, and it was only in the 1830s that a Scotsman named James Busby decided to bring it back to Australia with him. This man is known as the "Father of Australian viticulture" because he was the one responsible for bringing most of the European grape varieties to Australia. Now, Shiraz has now become mainly associated with Australian wines. Barossa Valley, in particular, is the most popularly known region to produce quality Shiraz wines, among all the Australian wine regions of today.

Apparently, what really matters most when it comes to pairing is to find the right combination of weight of food and wine. Simply put, a light summer dish like a salad should be paired with light-bodied wines, like a Pinot Grigio. Similarly, if you have access to a good year of Shiraz Barossa, this will be a particularly appropriate choice to bring to a full-fledged Aussie steak barbeque.

Because Shiraz is also known to be a good variety to blend with other grapes, some combinations have been tried and have been seen as exemplary. There have been instances of blending the Cabernet Sauvignon with the Shiraz, and, with the right method, some wines have been produced exceptionally well, resulting in rich and full-bodied flavors with hints of vanilla and spice. Another popular blend of Shiraz is the GSM trio made of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvdre, a combination that is almost like the blends coming from the French Chateauneuf-de-Pape regions. A similar combination to this is the Grenache Shiraz, where the full-bodied Shiraz is softened slightly by the light sweetness of the Grenache.

With all these varieties of Barossa Valley wines, you will not go wrong when you choose to buy a Shiraz from this region. Recent releases have shown great promise and a Barossa Shiraz is known to be one of the best in the world. But, like in all things that involve taste distinctions, it's all in your preferences. It will really depend on what flavors you like and don't like. At the end of the day, it will depend on what you want for that day and what you're eating with it. You will learn to better appreciate wine and all of its variants when you know exactly what you are looking for.

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