Arguably the most versatile grape variety, Shiraz (or ‘Syrah’ as it is sometimes referred to in Europe) can range from full to medium bodied, but leaning more to the heavier side when it comes to Australian grapes.
This type of grape is grown all over Australia, though it is most well known in the Barossa Valley. Its body, texture and flavor changes significantly depending on its climate – we find more pepper-y styles from cooler climates and fruity and bold spices from warmer climates.
Cultivating the Cab Sav grape is more demanding than Shiraz – requiring more water and minimal heat. The result is a full-bodied, rich wine with higher acidity – which gives it great ageing ability. Many Cab Cav’s also tend to give off a strong blackcurrant aroma, which pairs beautifully with simply cooked red meat.
Interestingly, this blend was the result of an accidental mixing of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc in France in the 1600s. We take our hats off to the young winemaker whose rookie error produced one of our favourite varieties!
The third most planted grape after Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is used for both blending and varietal wines. Merlot grapes are soft and fleshy and produce a more delicate, feminine flavour and with a velvety texture.
A medium-bodied grape, Merlot is ideal for beginner tasters and pairs well with exotic and flavour-full protein based dishes.
Significantly lighter in colour and much less tolerant of harsh conditions, the Pinot Noir is a difficult variety to produce but it usually pays off. Referred to as ‘sex in a glass’ but Master Sommelier, Madeline Triffon, Pinot Noir is consistent in its quality and taste despite the variety of its textures and styles around the world.
In Australia, Pinot’s grow well in cooler climates and boast powerful complexities, softer tannins and fruity or sometimes earthy aromatics. Best paired with pasta dishes, stews and casseroles.
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