When thinking about winter reds, one wine comes to mind – Shiraz, or Syrah as it’s known in other parts of the world. It is a red wine grape whose origins can be traced back to the Rhône Valley in France, where it’s been grown for centuries.
The grape eventually made its way to Australia in the 19th century, where it thrived in our warm and dry climate. No one is sure how the name Shiraz was coined, perhaps it was a misspelling, or a misheard accent, or a deliberate attempt to establish a new variety, but the name Shiraz is generally used in the ‘New World’ wine-producing countries.
Shiraz is Australia’s most planted wine-grape variety, grown in most of the country's wine regions, thriving in moderate to warm climates. Australian Shiraz is typically full-bodied with heavy tannins and moderate acidity with notes of deep, dark black fruit like blackcurrants and black cherries and even red fruit. Shiraz is also renowned for its hints of black pepper and other spices like mint, liquorice and star anise, and can sometimes exhibit notes of chocolate and tobacco.
Pairing a delicious full-bodied wine such as Shiraz can be somewhat of an artform, and it can be hard to know where to begin. But luckily, we know wine and can give you all the tips and tricks to make the perfect pairing. It doesn’t matter if you’re craving a spicy curry or a hearty steak, this wine is incredibly versatile and suits a range of cuisines.
If you are a meat lover, you will be happy to hear Shiraz pairs perfectly with red meats. The tannins in the wine compliment the rich flavours of red meat like beef, lamb and venison. There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about the flavours of the meat you want to cook and the type of wine you might want to drink. A full-bodied Shiraz can pair well with a grilled ribeye steak, for example, while a medium-bodied Shiraz may be better suited for slow-cooked lamb shanks.
If you’re not a meat eater and a good old-fashioned cheese platter is a bit more your style, you’re in luck. The sharp and intense flavour of aged cheddar is a perfect selection for a full-bodied Shiraz, as is the creamy texture and strong characteristics of blue cheese.
Or if you love a little heat, spicy food makes the ideal partner to an Australian Shiraz. The bold flavours in this varietal can withstand the spice and heat from Mexican and Indian cuisines, like a curry or anything with lots of chili. These dishes, and the like, tend to have more robust flavours which pair perfectly with the boldness of a Shiraz.
So now that you are equipped with all the best food pairing tips, why not try them out for yourself? Of course, these are just some of our recommendations – the flavour combinations you can try are limitless. There are no right or wrong ways to enjoy wine along with your favourite dishes, so don’t be afraid to get creative.