Our Chief Winemaker, John Durham, describes the typical Australian Shiraz, as no shrinking violet. Curious to what this entails, we had a chat with John about the complexity and individuality of our Shiraz.
What is the style of Shiraz that you are creating here in the Moorabool Valley?
A more refined, silky fine palate, moderate alcohol sweetness and with clean berry flavours. Maybe even a hint of pepper and spice. We will layer the wine with a dash of new oak, which will add more structure, round out the palate and increase the complexity of the bouquet.
What processes have you used to achieve this?
The vines growing here are sourced from the PT23 clone, which were originally sourced from the James Busby collection imported to Australia in 1832, and are known for their tendency to have blackberry and peppery flavours, along with deep colour and tannin. As the vineyard is over 20 years old and about to reach a mature age, it will give the fruit more depth of flavour and extra shine than the past.
Harvesting around 13.5 Baume level for moderately ripe fruit, allowing us to make a more balanced and refined style of Shiraz while avoiding the dulled flavours from over ripe fruit and a clunky palate
Gentle handling during fermentation and pressing to avoid over extraction
Using a neutral, clean fermenting yeast to avoid any reductive characters and regularly checking for the development of any reductive notes which is one of the only downsides inherent to this variety
Rack the wine to barrel soon after pressing and then leave on lees for an extended period in about 1/3rd new oak which should give the wine a more silky sweet palate from lees contact and with enhanced complexity from the new oak barrels.
We have a wee bit of Viognier planted at Austins which we will be experimenting with to add lift to nose and round out the palate, giving an extra dimension to the wine.
Where do you see the future of Shiraz heading?
Due to its versatility, we will see a range of different styles to meet varying consumer expectations. We will be able to make distinguished wines, even when the climate has become much warmer. We are also seeing people growing tired from drinking big, alcoholic reds and this is where Geelong, and Austins, will find its consumers, as long as we can make beautiful, balanced wines that manage to please and never disappoint.
Shiraz and lamb were meant to be, a spicy lamb roast – cumin, coriander, lemon zest, loads of roasted garlic and lamb jus on a bed of couscous.
Our Winter Shiraz weekend is coming up shortly, and our masterclasses include an interactive tasting session of four Shiraz wines with John.