Opposites attract

Yarra Yering winemaker Sarah Crowe (Photo: Yarra Yering)

Pinot noir and shiraz are an unlikely couple, yet they are surprisingly complementary.

On the surface, the blend seems somewhat contradictory. One would think that the shiraz, with all its flavour and weight, would swamp the pinot noir. In fact, the pinot noir well and truly stands its ground.

When done well, the marriage of the two varieties creates wines of fragrance, flavour and restraint.When done well, the marriage of the two varieties creates wines of fragrance, flavour and restraint, with that perfect mix of gentle fruit and underlying savouriness. The tannins are generally mild, and oak plays a minor role.

Of course for the blend to work, there needs to be a thread of similarity between the components. You can’t just throw together any shiraz and pinot. The grapes must be of a particular type, so they harmonise and enhance each other.

Sarah Crowe at Yarra Yering makes a particularly fine example, under the Light Dry Red label, where the varieties are seamlessly integrated. Equal proportions of each are used. The delicious 2016 has pretty much sold through (you may still find it on a few astute wine lists). However, the 2017 has recently been released.

Silkman Wines in the Hunter Valley also make an excellent example, as do Briar Ridge. Other producers making the style include Tempus Two, under the Uno label and Meerea Park under the Indie label.

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