Shiraz as a varietal wine was made world famous by Australian wineries, particularly those from the Barossa Valley located just north of Adelaide. The grape was brought from Cotes du Rhone in France and found suitable conditions in southern Australia and yields excellent wines.
While some say that Shiraz or Syrah as the French call it, originated in the eponymous city in Iran, ampleographers dispute it claiming that it originated along the Dalmatian Coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Regardless, Shiraz yields completely different wines in the Rhone Valley than in the Barossa valley. Both can be excellent pending on the soil and climatic conditions of the vineyard, a. k. a. terroir.
Barossa Valley Estate is a relatively small winery specializing in Shiraz.
The Valley Grower’s Co-perative was formed in 1985 by enterprising growers to market wines in an attempt to alleviate some of the pressures growers were facing then. Since its inception and with the assistance of a strategic alliance with BRL Hardy Wine Company, the co-operative has grown and prospered, developing an excellent reputation in both Australia and abroad. (BRL Hardy owns 50 percent of the company).
The winemaker Stuart Lawrence, a graduate of the Roseworthy School of Oenology, manages it. He buys the fruit according to quality and pays in stages. The payment hinges on the quality level of wine the delivery yields.
Barossa Valley Estate produces six quality levels of Shiraz. Some are strictly for the Australian market, others for both internal and external.
The winery subscribes to the notion of minimal intervention in winemaking, and uses old technology enhanced by modern aging techniques and blending.
Recently the winemaker conducted a tasting of his wines in Toronto.
Spires Chardonnay 2009 – good fruit, full body, and well balanced with a medium length.
Ebenezer Chardonnay 2008 – excellent aromas of pear and apple. Buttery, full-bodied with an excellent balance and mouth feel. Long aftertaste
Spires Shiraz 2009 – vibrant brick red, aromas of cherries. Medium bodied, soft and balanced with a good finish
Moculta Shiraz 2006 (Moculta is a small village settled in 1805. The township is named after the prominent hill that the local Aborigines called “Moculta”. The prominence of this landmark in Barossa gave inspiration to this range of wine. Aromas of cherry, pepper and spice waft out of the glass. Good depth and full body. Complex finish
Ebenezer Shiraz 2005 – The picturesque village of Ebenezer was founded in the northern outskirts of the Barossa Valley. The first vineyards ay Ebenezer were established at the time of settlement and have been painstakingly nurtured ever since. Ebenezer Shiraz is particularly famous because of its depth, and peppery flavour characteristics.
Deep brick earthen red in colour with subtle purple hues. Displays cherry, chocolate and coffee aromas with sweet fruit and a soupcon of oak. An intense palate, full body with great length. Tannins are ripe, soft and well integrated. Cellar worthy for six to eight years.
E and E Black Pepper Shiraz 2005 (Revered 60 year old vines yield little fruit, but an unequalled intensity of taste. This wine was made from very low yielding vineyards. (½ of one ton per acre). Aged for 18 months in 70 percent American oak and 30 percent Allier, France.
Deep brick earthen red. Chocolaty aromas intermingling with coffee flavours. Subtle oak in the background. Excellent fruit, full body, well-extracted, rich full smooth taste with a velvety finish