Le Sorelle Shiraz 2014, Heathcote, AUD $26
2014 Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir, Martinborough, NZD $85
Australia calls it “Shiraz”, producers in most other countries prefer to label it “Syrah”. It is the same grape variety. When James Busby first introduced it to Australia in 1832 it was known as “Scyras” but morphed into Shiraz at a later date. A popular legend has it that the variety came from Persia (now Iran) because the town of Shiraz was an important wine centre in 600 BC. The Australian spelling is more correct claim those (mostly Australians) who buy into that theory. That is a doubtful hypothesis according to the authoritative work “Wine Grapes” by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz.
Spring is my favourite vineyard season. Green buds emerge from apparently dead grapevines bringing with them hope of a bountiful crop. Spring signals a change in our diet from heavy winter soups, stews and casseroles to fresh produce from the season ahead. It’s time to change our choice of wines from rich winter warmers to fresher, lighter and more vibrant wines. It’s also a chance to get out of the “same old” rut and try something new. Here are a few favourites that might encourage vinous promiscuity.