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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > VARIETAL CLASSICS: Australian Shiraz

Winner Details

Varietal Classics: Australian Shiraz 


2016 Gold: 1 Silver: 3 Bronze: 3 Commended: 4
2015 Gold: 2 Silver: 4 Bronze: 3 Commended: 4

Several tasters made the same point here: that Australian Shiraz is engaged in a toe-to-toe slugging match with Argentinian Malbec. And at the moment it’s pretty obvious which wine is winning.

This category has had a somewhat forlorn air for a number of years – as if it’s treading water – and this year was the first time since 2011 that it managed only the one Gold.

Of course, the battle over ‘which style of Shiraz to go for’ – more restrained or full-throttle Ocker Aussie fruit – is complicating matters, and nor has the strength of the Aussie dollar helped over the past few years either.

But for all the generally positive comments about the wines before them in the early stages of the competition, when it came to awarding slots on the Gold List our tasters found less to be excited about than they used to. For such a flagship style (and key price area) it should be a concern to the folk Down Under.


‘The sweet spot was about £9-£10. That’s where they really shone.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘Personally I preferred the lighter ones – they seemed to have more balance. But it’s tricky. Do you sell the ones that are more typical or the ones that you personally think are better made?’ Carlos Ferreira, The Sign of the Don

‘Aussie Shiraz is still a good seller across the board; whether cheap or expensive, it still sells.’ Michael Fiducia, Drake’s Restaurant
‘Personally I like that minty, spicy character in Aussie Shiraz. The more fruit-driven wines don’t have the same complexity.’ Tamas Czinki, Northcote

‘There was a wide selection of styles here, from fruit-driven to heavier styles. As a panel we were often split. Personal tastes were much more of an issue.’ Timothy Connor, Bread Street Kitchen

‘It was good to see that there is value at the lower end of this flight. Though for me the real excitement starts around the £20-£30 level.’ James Fryer, Portland

“Malbec is still the number one. But if anything can compete with it, it’s Aussie Shiraz.” Tamas Czinki, Northcote

“Aussie Shiraz is still a hot style – people like it and ask for it, and they feel confident in asking for it. The question is that Syrah versus Shiraz issue – it’s becoming more of a factor for Australia now.” Ian Howard, The White Hart Inn at Lydgate

FOOTNOTE: The price limit for the Varietal Classics category is £12 ex-VAT. Australian Shiraz can also be entered in the relevant New World Shiraz category.

Award winners

Found 11 wines

Varietal Classics: Australian Shiraz - <£12 ex-VAT

Heirloom Vineyards, McLaren Vale Shiraz, 2014, South Australia , Australia

Gold medal winner

Great balance, ripe tannins and a generous fleshiness gave Heirloom one of its two Shiraz Golds. 'Rich, dark and complex red with notes of chocolate, blueberry and blackberry,' began Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen, with team leader Laura Rhys MS noting 'sweet spicy oak, big alcohol but integrated'. 'With its minty/eucalyptus notes, it's a real expression of Australia,' said Guillaume Kaczmar of L'Ortolan.

£11.50 Liberty Wines

Berton Vineyards, Reserve, Barossa Shiraz, 2013, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Dark, ripe and bold in classic Shiraz style, with textbook pepper and jammy character on the mid-palate,' began team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Ian Howard of The White Hart Inn at Lydgate agreeing: 'Black fruit, good tannin and acid, with warming spices and black pepper.'

£9.92 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Shingleback, Red Knot, Shiraz, 2015, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Perfumed and very approachable, with a softly rounded palate,' said Michael Fiducia of Drake's Restaurant, with Portland's James Fryer noting 'jammy fruit and inky florals, rock candy and notes of black earth on the palate', and Guillaume Kaczmar of L'Ortolan saying: 'This opens up with a lot of aromatic, deep fruits.'

£9.55 Matthew Clark

Shingleback, Haycutters, Shiraz, 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Very menthol in character on the palate with good fruit weight and spicy notes. Great match for a steak,' suggested Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners. 'Dark, rich fruit with peppery spice, and smooth,' agreed Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen.

£10.45 Matthew Clark

Deakin Estate, Artisan's Blend, Shiraz/Viognier, 2014, Victoria , Australia

Bronze medal winner

'Juicy red fruits with a hint of jam on the nose, soft spicy fruit palate with a little sharpness,' began team leader Tom Forrest, with consultant sommelier Emily Bonsor adding: 'Brilliant complexity and ripeness for the money.'

£5.94 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Langmeil, Valley Floor, Shiraz, 2013, South Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

'Wonderfully approachable nose with a deep fruit medley and well-used oaky creaminess,' began Michael Fiducia of Drake's Restaurant, while consultant sommelier Emily Bonsor found 'grippy tannins, warm ripe fruit and sweet spices'.

£11.80 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Chapel Hill, The Parson, Shiraz, 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

'Dark berries, cherries and black pepper aromas with good spice on the palate. Varietally correct with a full structure,' said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Carlos Ferreira of The Sign of the Don also noting 'black and red fruits with dark chocolate notes'.

£9.47 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Dandelion Vineyards, Lioness of McLaren Vale, Shiraz, 2014, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£9.35 Liberty Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Lion's Tooth of McLaren Vale, Shiraz/Riesling, 2013, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£9.35 Liberty Wines

Rathbone Wine Group , Mount Langi Ghiran, Billi Billi, Shiraz , 2012, Grampians, Victoria , Australia

Commended medal winner

£8.54 Bibendum Wine

Dandelion Vineyards, Lionheart of The Barossa, Shiraz, 2014, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£9.60 Liberty Wines