Wine Lists

Shiraz wines to try

By Halliday Promotion

2 days ago

Shiraz is synonymous with Australian wine. Here are five examples that demonstrate how it thrives across the country.

Shiraz (also known as syrah) is without a doubt one of Australia's most popular grapes, if not the most popular. It's grown in almost every wine region in the country, with styles varying widely depending on the region.

So why is shiraz so popular? Winemaker Mark Kenneally of Altschwager Kenneally points to its versatility. "It works as a full bodied, higher alcohol, lots of oak style through to syrah styles coming out of the cooler regions, and everything in between," Mark says. Winemaker of Pepper Tree Nick Kruger agrees: "The special balance of regional and viticultural versatility and stylistic flexibility means that growers and winemakers are able to produce shiraz in seemingly endless styles." Meanwhile, owner of Latitude 32 Emma Whites adds that "its long history, international acclaim, effective marketing and excellent barbecue pairing contribute to its popularity". 

Below we get to know five styles of Australian shiraz from Altschwager Kenneally, Latitude 32, Mount Pleasant, Organic Hill and Pepper Tree. Priced between $32–60, each of these shiraz wines deserves a place on your table this winter. 

Altschwager Kenneally

Mark Kenneally in vineyard

Winemaker Mark Kenneally says: Shiraz is exceptionally versatile, reflecting the many different styles and places it's grown, whether it be picking timing, new oak, time on skins or the percentage of whole bunch ferments. The creativity shiraz allows while being true to site and style is what I love about it.       

H. What makes this shiraz unique?
MK. This wine is grown at our Culley Road vineyard. It’s located at the southern end of McLaren Vale and it’s an elevated, windy site. This, along with the free draining, rocky loam the vineyard sits upon, creates a terroir that provides concentrated small berries. We are certified organic as well, which we believe helps the uniqueness of this site to shine.   

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
MK. I’m hands on in the vineyard and considered in the winery. We like to see our site's attributes in our wines and use winemaking techniques to allow that. Colour, flavour and tannin are all strengths of our vineyard. But we need to be careful not to over work our ferments or pick too late and miss the lovely natural acid window which helps to bring the wine together.       

Wine to try

AK Wines bottleshot

2023 Culley Road Shiraz by Altschwager Kenneally

Deep and concentrated in colour with a bright red hue. Black berries and plum with some spice carry from the nose to the palate. Smooth toasty tannin helps to frame this wine and provide length. Some nice acid to finish gives it focus.  

Best enjoyed: Not too hot, 15–18 degrees is perfect, glassware to match if you can or cool room temperature. This wine pairs really well with red meat dishes, but also with hard cheeses or vegetarian dishes with bolder flavour – mushrooms, artichokes, that sort of thing.   

RRP $32 | Drink to 2040 | Shop this wine |

Latitude 32

Emma White of Latitude 32

Owner Emma White says: Such a diverse style of wine can be made using the same grape, which takes on regional characteristics, making it an enjoyable experience and fun learning process to try shiraz, or syrah, from Australia and the world's varying wine growing areas. 

H. What makes this shiraz unique?
EW. A fabulous example of Hunter Valley shiraz, with bright red fruits and that perfect hint of pepper on the back palate. 2023 was a long, cool vintage so the fruit ripened slowly and was hanging on the vine for longer than previous vintages. This is clearly expressed in this fine wine which, although drinking stupendously now, will further develop with age.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
EW. At Latitude 32 we embrace vintage variation rather than seeking to hide it. Focusing on the fruit, we harvest when the grapes are at full flavour ripeness, looking to achieve alcohol no more than 13 per cent after fermentation. To ensure full extraction of colour without overworking the fruit, we cold soak the grapes on arrival to the winery and ensure we gently handle the cap throughout fermentation. 

Wine to try

Latitude 32 bottleshot

2023 Latitude 32 The Apprentice Shiraz

The nose shows bright red fruits and beautiful savoury spice. On the palate, the juicy fruit is balanced by the soft and graceful tannins. This medium bodied moreish wine has subtle complexity, which makes it perfect for food pairing or fantastic to drink on its own.

Best enjoyed: We love our glassware here at the cellar door, so take a large glass, fill it a third of the way and feel the stress of the day leave your body as you swirl it around the glass. Best drunk with great mates, chatting about good times with awesome food – all of which create memorable occasions.

RRP $45 | Drink to 2035 | Shop this wine |

Mount Pleasant Wines

Mount Pleasant winemaker

Chief winemaker Adrian Sparks says: I love the versatility of shiraz and the ability for it to produce so many different styles. I think it has qualities across so many different regions that people that like heavy tannic wines can find a good example, to the people that like elegance and grace in their wines. The Hunter Valley produces a style that I most admire – fine and medium bodied that will age like nowhere else. 

H. What makes this shiraz unique?
AS. Rosehill is a unique vineyard, planted on an easterly facing slope back in 1946. The wines produced are elegant, truly medium-bodied with fine tannins and lovely red fruits. Almost pinot-like in structure, it’s the vineyard I moved to the Hunter Valley for.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
AS. A less is more approach; we plunge the cap twice a day after a short cold soak, and press off just prior to dryness into around 10 per cent new large format oak. This allows the fruit to be fully expressed and the tannins to show the finesse expected in Rosehill.

Wine to try Mount Pleasant bottleshot

2022 Mount Pleasant Wines Rosehill Shiraz

Red fruit and floral notes with a lovely complexing spice note. An elegant, focused wine with lovely length and balance, full of rich red fruits.

Best enjoyed: I love to drink elegant wines like this without food and with a friend – taking your time, watching the wine unfurl its splendour over time whilst sitting outside relaxing and enjoying the time slowly pass by. 

RRP $60 | Drink to 2044 | Shop this wine |

Organic Hill

Organic Hill vineyard

Founder of John Hill Wines Leon Hill says: While shiraz is known for its boldness, the best examples achieve a balance of power and elegance. The tannins are often well-integrated, providing structure without being overly harsh, and the acidity balances the rich fruit flavours, making the wine refreshing and vibrant. This complex balance is achieved through the skills of our winemaker and the high quality grapes grown in our organic, biodynamic vineyard at McLaren Vale. 

H. What makes this shiraz unique?
LH. Our shiraz is certified organic, biodynamic, preservative free and tastes delicious. Being from McLaren Vale, its uniqueness lies in its pure expression of terroir, commitment to sustainable and holistic farming practices, and the skilful craftsmanship required to produce a high-quality, natural wine. These factors combined create a distinctive product that appeals to wine enthusiasts both locally and abroad.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
LH. Our organic farming emphasises the health of the soil and the vineyard ecosystem, avoiding synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers. This results in grapes that reflect a more authentic expression of their terroir, with enhanced flavour complexity and purity. Organic viticulture leads to healthier vines and more resilient ecosystems, which translates to more consistent quality and unique wine profiles. We’re true believers that the best wines are created naturally, from the ground up. Just like ‘paddock to plate’ is to food, our growing philosophy is ‘soil to wine’. Our vineyards are rich in natural nutrients and jam-packed with living organisms that naturally enrich the soil, the vines and the grapes they bear. It’s the natural foundation for the premium wine we make.

Wine to try

Organic Hill bottleshot

2020 Organic Hill Founders Release Shiraz

A deep red colour, with a soft ruby hue. Aromas of dense, intense spice and black pepper, with hints of blackberries, herald the rich, deep black fruits and berry flavours that fill the palate. Balanced and supple fine-grained tannins complement the fine acid structure lending a persistence and beguiling complexity.

Best enjoyed: This deep ruby shiraz, with its vibrant colour and rich, opulent flavours, is best enjoyed with grilled meats, barbecue, hearty stews, aged cheeses or rich, flavourful vegetarian dishes. Serve it in a large balloon glass at 16–18 degrees in a celebratory setting to enhance any special occasion. The wine’s complex oak structure, earthy notes, and well-rounded tannins create a balanced and lingering finish, elevating the dining experience to something extraordinary.

RRP $50 | Drink now | Shop this wine |

Pepper Tree

Pepper Tree winemaker

Winemaker Nick Kruger says: I love that shiraz faithfully expresses the uniqueness of its terroir, while also being stylistically malleable. There are so many fantastic shiraz growing regions in Australia, and the variety allows each region to bring its own character to the fore. Shiraz responds well to a wide array of winemaking techniques, from gentle hand-plunging and early pressing, through to extended maceration and beyond. The distinct reflection of terroir coupled with the versatility of Shiraz means that there is something for everybody.

H. What makes this shiraz unique?
NK. The ancient beach dunes which run along our Wrattonbully vineyard are comprised of gravelly ironstone and soft crumbly limestone, which is highly conducive to growing top quality grapes. Our vines produce very small crops of intensely aromatic shiraz with a juicy concentration. A fine balance of dark red fruits, savoury undertones and finely balanced tannins make this a truly special wine.

H. How do you approach the winemaking process?
NK. Our top priority in making our wines is allowing each terroir to speak for itself. This can mean embracing the opulence of rich, concentrated fruit by extended cold soaking prior to ferment, or carefully extracting the naturally fine tannin of a lighter red by gentle hand plunging. Pepper Tree is fortunate enough to have vineyards in four distinct regions, so we adapt our winemaking techniques to embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of each site.

Wine to try

Pepper Tree bottleshot

2021 Pepper Tree The Gravels Single Vineyard Wrattonbully Shiraz

The Gravels is our single-vineyard shiraz, grown on a small block at our Wrattonbully site. Consisting of ironstone gravel and limestone, the site’s unique soil profile makes for a shiraz that is generally low-cropping with small berries. As a result, The Gravels is intensely perfumed and shows juicy but concentrated flavours of dark berry fruits with a soft spice. Fine grain tannin and fresh acidity complete the mouthfeel and provide further complexity. 

Best enjoyed: The Gravels is an incredibly food-friendly shiraz. I love to enjoy it with a smoked beef brisket or just a selection of good hard cheese – comté or a good aged cheddar are just delicious with this wine. It's certainly worth enjoying out of a large bowled glass if you can – a large Bordeaux glass really lets the perfumed aromatics sing.

RRP $55 | Drink to 2040 | Shop this wine |