Aussie wine trends: 2. Refining Shiraz

Shiraz grapesAustralia is also now working hard to better understand the impact of vine age on Shiraz – after all, there aren’t many places outside the Barossa where you find yourself asking winemakers not just which decade their vineyard was planted, but which century.

According to Yalumba’s chief winemaker Louisa Rose, the Yalumba Nursery has been collaborating on an initiative to select Shiraz clones from Barossa’s oldest vineyards. “We’ve selected the best-looking vines with the best-tasting grapes in 13 old-vine vineyards across the Barossa and Eden Valleys,” she says.

As a result, Yalumba has identified 13 different old vine Shiraz clones which the producer has planted in an experimental vineyard, and, reveals Rose: “The best will be made commercially available as the Barossa Old Vine Collection.” Interestingly she observes that some of the Eden Valley clones continue to produce Shiraz that reflects its cooler and higher altitude origin despite being planted in the Barossa Valley.

For the future, a further project is planned to focus attention on why old vines in the Barossa produce wines with particular attributes, such as a finer tannic structure, while sub-regional differences are also under the spotlight with the Barossa Grounds initiative and, elsewhere, McLaren Vale’s Scarce Earth project, as previously reported by the drinks business as part of this Top 10 Australian wine trends.

Overall, Australian producers are refining the Shiraz style to more clearly express regional and single site specifics. They are also bringing more structure to the wines – whether that’s from higher acidity or grape tannins.

Some of this change however has not been deliberate: the cooler 2011 vintage in South Australia accelerated the shift to medium-bodied red wines made from the grape.

Other developments already featured on thedrinksbusiness.com as part of our Top 10 Australian Wine Trends include:

3. The 2011 effect

4. Perfecting Pinot 

5. Grenache reappraisal

6. Sauvignon/Semillon

7. Sub-regional recognition

8. Italian varieties and Moscato

9. Tasmanian fervour

10. Pricey produce

One Response to “Aussie wine trends: 2. Refining Shiraz”

  1. JT says:

    They are basically learning to do something that the Hunter has been doing for over 100 years. All the people quoted could have just picked up the phone and called some of their industry colleagues up North. Anyway, thank god they are getting away from the over extracted wines that became the norm down South 10-15 years ago

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