Wow! There is so much exciting local news about our wonderful winemakers in this week’s edition of Yass Valley Times including our regular columnist Brent Lello. Make sure you get your copy fresh off the press today but to whet your appetite here is a previous drop of wisdom from Brent’s columns.

Photo of Brent Lello - Yass Valley Wine Advocate

Brent Lello – Yass Valley Wine Columnist

Aussie Shiraz owes its heritage to the wine regions in the south of France.  Known in these areas, in fact nearly everywhere else in the world, as “Syrah”, this robust red grape variety has taken on a new signature in Australia as “Shiraz”.  The range of characteristics of Aussie Shiraz is as expansive and varied as the land on which it grows.  In the warmer growing climates of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, the styles of Shiraz are often big and bold with ripe and juicy dark fruit flavours.  In the cooler climates like ours however, Shiraz wines are often more subtle and elegant.  In a Back-To-The-Future style twist, some producers in the area are labelling their Shiraz wines as “Syrah” to indicate to us punters that there is a difference between the warmer and cooler climate versions.

Most wine producers in the Yass Valley region will have at least one Shiraz on offer for you to sniff, swirl and slurp.  You can expect them to be elegant in nature and subtle in style.  Aromas and flavours of ripe red cherries, redcurrants and fresh-cut plums will be drawn together with spicy undertones including white pepper and star anise.  Some may even offer up dried herbs as an additional layer of complexity.

The palate will be undoubtedly soft and smooth, with lingering red fruit flavours and silky tannins.  The wine producers in the region are meticulous with their use of oak in terms of the quality of oak barrels used and how long the wine is tucked away within those barrel walls.  This attention to detail rewards the drinker with a wine that will drink well upon release and will also age well over the years to come, developing into a rounder, mellower version of Shiraz tastiness.

Some wine producers also make a subtly different style of Shiraz.  This style is witness to the marriage of Shiraz with the white grape variety – Viognier.  In these tasty drops, the Viognier often adds a deliciously divine floral fragrance including wafts of roses or violets.

At the dinner table, our region’s Shiraz will stack up superbly with all kinds of dishes, especially grilled meats, think of lamb chops seasoned with dried herbs and simply grilled.  Spicy dishes from Asia and the Middle East also work well, including Thai beef red curry and Moroccan lamb casserole.  You can’t go wrong with a Yass Valley regional Shiraz.  Whatever is on your menu, there’s bound to a ripping Shiraz just right for the night.