Thursday, August 10, 2006

Penfold Grange ....Syrah or Shiraz?

When Max Schubert first developed Penfold Grange in 1951 it was the very early beginnings of the rise and rise of the Australian wine industry, around this time most Aussie wine was of the Port Style or sticky variety.

So what grape did Max use to produce this now iconic wine...... it was of course grapes from the French vine variety Syrah that had been replanted in South Australia and renamed Shiraz. Shiraz was first thought to have been planted into the Barrosa Valley around 1840 it has now become Australia's principle red grape variety and is now grown by many New World producers around the world under the same name.

The wines produced in Australia from these grapes taste significantly different from those produced 10,000 miles away in the Rhone Valley area of France under the Syrah name, this is mainly down to the completely different terroir and wine making techniques, that said wine styles can vary widely around the various regions of Australia.

To increase the complexity of the wines American oak would normally be used, however always keen to experiment the Aussies are starting to use French oak. As competition continues to increase in a market place that is suffering from overproduction of run of the mill wines producers will coninue to experiment in a bid to add there own individual mark to the wines to enable them to stand out.

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