For quite a while now I’ve heard Aussie’s banging on about sparkling Shiraz. For those of you who’ve never tried it, I do mean Shiraz, the red wine grape that makes all those massive Rhône classics under the French name Syrah. Not sure why I picked out France in particular, it makes huge wines all over the world. In Australia though, they’ve been messing around with bubbles and struck upon liquid gold!
At the minute there’s a lot of push to change the thinking about certain wine regions. For example, somewhere like Bordeaux wants you to know they can do good bulk brands as we’ve seen with Mouton Cadet. On the flip side, somewhere like Australia wants you to know that they do fantastic premium wine, and they’re not just the big brand wonders that we all have in our heads.
This week was a week learning all about concentration. One of the reasons I’m enjoying doing all this is I get to learn all about the wines I’m drinking each week. But then one of the snags is when you’re drinking and eating at the end of the week, you do have to concentrate a bit about what you’re doing. I think I messed that up this weekend.
I think one thing that we’ve all been chuffed with so far this year is that if one week we do a crowd pleaser, we’ll follow it up with one than might be a bit of the opposite. Well this week it’s the other way round, we’re following up the controversial (but hopefully eye opening) Pinot Grigio week, with a trip down under to try what has become one the New World’s premium blends, GSM.
Shiraz is one of those grapes that takes on the climate more than most. It’s spiritual home, as with many grapes going round these days in the “international varieties” is France, in particular the Rhone Valley, but back in the 1830s (or something along those lines) some bright bugger took it out to Australia, and the rest is, well, quite literally history!
About 6 months or so ago I sat my WSET Level 3 exam. For anyone who’s sat it, you’ll know that first up is the tasting bit, then the multiple choice, followed up by the short answers bit. Then you leg it out of the exam room before anyone else finishes because you don’t want to sit through the “what did you put for this?” crap that always happens at the end of exams.