Winepilot Top 5 – Australian Shiraz New Releases

Shiraz is the grape variety that put Australian red wine on the international map. South Australian icons such as Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace remain among the greatest wines from anywhere in the world thanks to their long history and ability to age well for many years.

But while these legendary wines are an important part of the Australian wine scene, the local shiraz styles are continually evolving, particularly into more elegant, cooler climate, and in some cases more food-friendly, wines. 

Shiraz as a grape variety, like chardonnay, is particularly flexible so that it can make delicious wines from a whole range of wine regions. This fact is now seeing new plantings around the world including some surprising places, such as Colchagua in Chile and Central Otago in New Zealand. Potentially it may also pop up in decent numbers sometime in the future at the home of cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux.  

Australian shiraz has a whole range of features that makes it worth hunting down. Firstly it is packed full of flavour thanks in part to its thick skins, which in the best cases gives fruit that is highly complex. This ranges from warmer climate jammy dark fruits and cola through to spicier, red fruits from cooler climates. It also can be a wine for early drinking with supple tannins through to wines that are deeply tannic and need decades to soften and come around.

Mitchell Wines Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz 2016

95 Points – $30

Wines like this show the advantage of bottle age in regions such as the Clare Valley where young reds can be brutish, even overwhelming with their dense ripe fruit. But give them a couple of years to settle and their more subtle characters emerge, as is seen right here.

The key to this wine is fantastic balance from start to finish. Quite deeply coloured, it’s ripe and generous but also carries great subtlety too – dark cherry, licorice and old oak are topped with white pepper, eucalyptus and violets plus a hint of whole bunch spice. There is definitely something Rhoney going on here too. That is followed by a dry, juicy and mid-weight palate with some Clare Valley earthy flavours tied into dark fruits and supported by long drying tannins with baking spices right on the finish. So much going on here, it is a belter, great value and has plenty of aging potential.

View Full Article by Angus Hughson | Winepilot