Australia's young Shiraz
Shiraz in Australia reigns supreme as the definitive Australian red wine - and Penfolds' Grange is its ultimate iconic wine. Shiraz's opulent purple fruit character is reminiscent of blackberries, cherries, plums and sometimes a floral violet note.
Ageing in oak barrels enriches it with liquorice, ginger and dark chocolate aromas or a little herbal mint or eucalyptus. If unopened, over time Shiraz can develop a leather and tar quality in the bottle that adds to its complexity.
Though often blended with other grapes in Australia, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, it does not need blending to enhance its character. Pure Shiraz has plenty of personality to go solo. Here are some of the best from a blind taste test of young Shiraz from 2013-2014. Each bottle costs under €20.
1) Wine of the week: Shiraz 2013, Shoo Fly, South Australia 14.5pc
Full-bodied and delicious black fruits with firm tannins giving a gravelly texture. Eat with pan-fried duck breast with smoked bacon, Puy lentils and chives.
€17.99 at Holland's, Bray and in Dublin: Cheers @ The Coach House, Ballinteer; Hole in the Wall, Dublin 7; The Lord Mayor, Swords and Fresh Stores citywide.
2) Shiraz 2014, Cimarosa, South Eastern Australia 13.5pc
Classic blackberry fruity aromas and palate, well-balanced by gentle tannins and a long fruity finish. Enjoy with a peppered steak.
€5.99 at Lidl nationwide
3) Shiraz 2013, Beelgara, New South Wales, Australia 13pc
A leather, tar and smoky bacon bouquet. Savoury palate highlighted by juicy blackberry fruits with some tar on the finish. Pair with roast leg of lamb, speared with fresh rosemary and slivers of garlic.
€12.99 at jnwine.com
4) Shiraz 2013, Miles from Nowhere, Margaret River, Western Australia 14pc
Hint of farmyard and mineral aromas. Very tasty with ripe blackberries supported by firm tannins. Enjoy with beef stew topped with a mash of sweet potatoes and carrots with grated orange zest.
€13.99 by J&C Kenny at Shannon Knights, Shannon; No. 21 Off-licences, Midleton, Charleville, Blarney, Ballincollig, Coburg Street Cork and Carrick-on-Suir; Matson's, Grange, Co Cork and Cooper's, Cahir
5) Shiraz 2013, The Lucky Country, McLaren Vale & Barossa Valley, Australia 14.5pc
Chewy and jammy black fruits and purple plums contrasted by dry tannins and a long leather finish. Try with grilled tuna steaks and fried diced aubergine, tomato and garlic.
€16.99 in Dublin at Red Island Wines, Skerries; Wines on the Green, Dawson Street; The Lord Mayor's Off-licence, Swords and Mitchell & Son, CHQ-IFSC and Glasthule
Value buy: Chenin Blanc 2015, Zebra View, Swartland, South Africa 13pc
Dry and grassy with lemon and greengage character from this exciting region. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Match with pumpkin, chickpea and coconut curry.
€11.49 at Marks & Spencer nationwide