I landed in Brisbane after 47 hours of traveling, wine was the last thing on my mind. But after arriving at my apartment, my roommate took me to meet some friends, and within minutes of entering their ocean
view apartment, I was handed a glass of red wine. It should have come as no surprise that the wine in my glass would be Shiraz.
When I first encountered this varietal, I was told that Syrah and Shiraz were the exact same grape – that Syrah originated in France and when cultivated in Australia, became known as Shiraz. It was only fitting that this variety be known by a different name because when grown in warmer climates the resulting wine is drastically different. To be honest, Syrah has never been a favourite of mine. I never warmed up to its’ bold, meaty and spicy profile. Yet, I was often surprised by the attention this grape demanded by its’ loyal following.
Being exposed only to the big and mass produced Aussie Shiraz that exploded in North America some years ago, I thought this wine was a bit too much for me. It was in your face, sweet, lacked structure, and had no depth of character. They were big wines that went down easy but were not at all interesting.
This was the style that put Australia on the map, but may have done some harm as well. So when I landed here and was handed that glass of Shiraz I thought I had a good idea of what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised. A surprise that I hope to be the start of many more to come. I am excited to explore this wine region. Before coming here, I read about Australia’s cool climate regions, Riesling growing in popularity and even some notable sparkling producers. I hope to find wines of interest, of character and intrigue. I know there’ s more out there than Australian Shiraz, and I’m now on a mission to discover just what it is that’s made Australia the wine region it is today.
That first night, taking a walk along Mooloolaba Beach