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The Enduring Popularity of Shiraz.

Shiraz: it’s the variety closest to most red wine lover’s hearts. Its legendary opulence, texture and depth have made it the most popular varietal on the shelves of Nicks Wine Merchants. People looking to buy Australian Shiraz may not understand the rich history it has within our country and our deep connections with the French.

A long history in Australia.

Australian Shiraz is also synonymous with France's 'Hermitage' and Syrah of the Rhone Valley. Wine lore has it that Shiraz (also known as Syrah, Sirrahs, Ciras, Scyras) was taken from Persia to France by the Phoenicians. However, more recent research has determined that Shiraz is actually indigenous to the Rhone region of France, the descendant of two little known French grape varieties, Durela and Mondeuse Blanc, grown in the Rhone Valley since 500 B.C.

Shiraz was first brought to Australia in 1832 by James Busby, unwittingly with the help and co-operation of the French themselves. Busby left Australia in February 1831 and arrived in the Rhone Valley on the 10th of December. He recorded his trip in the 'Journal of a Tour' published in 1833 and wrote of the hospitality and generosity of information that French vignerons eagerly passed on: "I had no advisers...I uniformly prefaced my request for information with a statement of the object for which it was required. So far however, from having been in any one instance at all deceived or mislead. I have found every person to whom I applied anxious to forward my undertaking." It is to the French, therefore, that the Australian wine industry owes so much of its present success. If the French knew that their wisdom, knowledge (as well as their Shiraz cuttings) were being placed at the feet of 'Barbarians', perhaps they would not have been so obliging.

For some time, Cabernet rather than Shiraz, was the dominating variety for much of Australia's wine making history. Today, Shiraz has become synonymous with the ultimate expression of Australian red wine making with icons such as Penfolds Grange. Clarendon Hills Astralis and Henschke Hill of Grace being recognised amongst the world's great wines. Historically great Australian Shiraz has been grown from old vines in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in South Australia, however, new regions such as Margaret River (Western Australia), Heathcote and the Yarra Valley (Victoria) are pushing the Australian Shiraz wine making boundaries further.  Great Australian Shiraz is characterised firstly by its intensity of colour - almost opaque with black, purple hues. Secondly by its palate weight and concentration of ripe plum, black pepper and very ripe berry flavours, often over layed by the use of toasted American oak.

Like Pinot Noir, there are many different clones of Shiraz, often used in the same wine to increase complexity. Many of these clones were first identified in Australia in 1964 by Harry Tulluch of the South Australian Department of Agriculture and include the following: SA1654 (The most widely planted Shiraz clone in Australia) which produces wines of intense black purple colour with a distinct black pepper character. SA2626, a firmer tannin structure with flavours of stewed fruit and sour cherries. SA1127 has spectacular dense purple black colour and the aroma is of violets and cherry palate flavours. SA712 is dominated by chocolate and plum flavour whilst BVRC30 offers an earthy, farmyard character to Shiraz.

Nick’s Wine Merchants have a terrific selection if you’re looking to buy Australian Shiraz online. Our range is affordable and great value for money.  

Along with our Australian Shiraz selection we offer French and Italian wines, including the famous Bordeaux region wine. Good wine can be paired with great Scotch whisky. Our single malt rare Scotch whisky collection is available online. Try some Tasmanian whisky or purchase one of your old favourites. Delivery of our wine online is available Australia wide. Buy Australian Shiraz online and enjoy some of the country’s greatest wine offerings without leaving the comfort of your own home.