Earthy, spicy medium bodied wines

Earthy, spicy medium bodied wines

Australian wines don’t always have to be about big, bold, rich fruit.

If you are looking for something more classic, akin to the wines of the Rhone Valley then look beyond single Shiraz and try some of the incredible Rhone style blends that are being produced in Barossa. The famed GSM blend adopted by the pioneers of Barossa is capable of producing multi-dimensional wines, usually lead by Shiraz, the Grenache adds softer, red berry fruits to the dark, spicy Shiraz and Mourvedre lends colour and structure. A leading name for incredible Rhone styled wines is Grant Burge who also produce stunning Cabernet Sauvignon.

Single varietal Grenache will always be of a more restrained style. One of Australia’s current rising star, single varieties due to a growing shift towards a less weighty style of wine, Grenache has been championed by producers and consumers for its silky texture, juicy, red berry fruit and perfume. Single variety Grenache is produced in Barossa and gives a contrast to the dark, heady Shiraz. Try the Schwarz Wine Company single vineyard Grenache . Mclaren Vale produces some of the finest examples, the ancient, sandy soils of Blewitt Springs, a much prized, elevated sub-region of Mclaren Vale being responsible for some of the finest examples. Grenache from Blewitt Springs is renowned for its elegance and fine grained tannins.

For this style of wine it is now time to take our first trip across the country to Western Australia to visit the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons of Margaret River. The region is surrounded on three sides by coast with winds blowing in from the western Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean which dramatically cool the climate having a significant affect on the wines. Here we begin to see the spicy side of Shiraz, remaining medium bodied with flavours of cracked pepper being most prominent in cooler climates. For great examples of Margaret River Shiraz try Deep Woods, Watershed or Cape Mentelle. Cabernet Sauvignon is without doubt the highlight of Margaret River and wines produced here are concentrated and powerful but also remain medium in weight. Succulent blackcurrant flavours are prominent but the cooling, maritime climate allows for crunchy, leaf and capsicum flavours to also show in youth resulting in wines of great complexity and longevity. For classic Margaret River Cabernet look to Deep Woods, Flowstone, Nocturne or Watershed. Also try Shiraz from Australia’s coolest region, Tasmania which is abundant in spice, red berry fruits and elegant perfume with a more medium body, the Glaetzer-Dixon Shiraz highlighting these qualities.

Usually thought of as a light grape variety, Pinot Noir can also often be found to be very earthy, showing density and a more medium body. Looking beyond Australia, you can often find a weightier style of Pinot in New Zealand, especially the Devotus Reserve and Dry River wines from the prestigious Martinborough Terrace appellation, as well as some producers in Marlborough and in the warmer sub-regions of Central Otago. Given the cooler climate, Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrahs from New Zealand show good structure and a more medium body

In the USA you can find both Pinot Noir and Syrah in medium bodied, earthy styles from California, Washington and Sonoma that also show incredible perfume and sometimes floral notes of violet and herbs for both varieties.

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