Australians can justly claim the name Shiraz (Syrah in France) as their own, for they have marketed it brilliantly. Soft, full, rounded, jammy reds in their simplest form, at best they can be rich, complex, spicy and luscious. All the classic varieties are grown in Australia, as well as some successful lesser known varieties such as Verdelho and Viognier (whites) and Grenache (red), all of which express pure varietal flavours and can be really very good.
The Australians like to claim the the barbecue as their own with Shiraz or Grenache to match. But both their cuisine and their wines are far further reaching. Influenced by cuisine as diverse as Asian, European and American, they have an amazing variety of fish, crab, oyster and lobster at their disposal, and the very best beef and kangaroo steaks. Chardonnay is the popular choice for the former, while good quality Shiraz is suited to the steaks. Alternatively a Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet-Shiraz blend. The GSM reds (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) are rich and spicy southern-Rhone alternatives, but sometimes they can be over-alcoholic and the flavours too strong for anything but game with the richest of red wine sauces.
Pikes GSM is spot on and very much recommended. Which brings me neatly to Clare Valley Riesling (Pikes Clare Valley Riesling recently won gold at the International Wine Challenge): along with New Zealand some deliciously dry, aromatic and limy wines are now emerging, not unlike Sauvignon Blanc (which is also produced in pockets) and perfect as appetisers and food wines.
And finally there are Australia`s sweet wines with special mention here given to their Black Muscat wines: Richly layered and often intensely sweet, they are your match for chocolate puddings – and even the Christmas Pudding!
- Whistling Duck Semillon-Sauvignon, NSW, 2013 £8.99
- Glenguin Estate, Protos, Chardonnay 2007 £22.99
- Murphy Vineyards Big Rivers Chardonnay 2011 £7.99
- Grosset `Piccadilly` Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2009 £33.99
- Polish Hill Riesling, Grosset 2010 £26.99
- Plantagenet Omrah Un-oaked Chardonnay, Western Australia 2010 £12.99
- Plexus, Barossa Valley 2010 £26.99
- D`Arenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia 2011 £11.99
- Whistling Duck Shiraz, NSW, 2012 £8.99
- Dandelion `Red Queen of the Eden Valley` Shiraz 2009 £49.99
- Henschke Keyneton Uuphonium, Barossa 2010 £34.99
- Murphy Vineyards Big Rivers, Shiraz 2012 £7.99
- Hollick Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 2009 £23.99
- Dandelion Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz 2010 £13.99
- Charles Melton Nine Popes, Barossa Valley 2009 £33.99
- Grosset Gaia, Clare Valley 2008 £38.99
- Peter Lehmann Shiraz Grenache, Barossa 2010 £10.99
- All Saints Estate Durif, Victoria 2009 £14.99
- Eligo, Barossa Valley 2008 (by John Duval) £68.00
- Entity Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2007 £26.99
- Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River 2003 £31.99
- D`Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale 2006 £33.99
- Mitchelton Crescent, Victoria 2005 £16.99
- Stonier Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula 2008 £16.99