Shiraz, Tasmania

Shiraz is a red grape variety. It is the most widely planted variety in Australia and helped put it on the wine map. It is an adaptable grape that has distinctly regional characteristics from elegant, peppery cool climate styles to sweet and chocolatey (McLaren Vale), muscular, and ripe-fruited (Barossa), to savoury and rich (Hunter Valley). Shiraz was one of the first vine varieties to arrive in Australia in 1832 and is grown in most regions. However, its home is in the Barossa Valley where old vines date back to the 1860s.

The classic, truly Australian blend is Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is also blended with Grenache and Mourvedre (GSM) in warmer climates. In recent years it is increasingly being blended with Viognier to create the Shiraz/Viognier blend.

Shiraz's home is in the Northern Rhône's, Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, in France. It is now also grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others.
Apart from being the most southerly wine region in Australia, Tasmania has among the coolest growing subregions with the potential to make distinctly different wines than in the rest of the country.

Most well known for cool-climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (thus sparkling too), Sauvignon Blanc smaller plantings of Riesling, Cabernet and Pinot Gris (more commonly Pinot labelled Pinot Grigio)

Historically, Tasmania can lay claim to being the founder of both the Victorian and South Australian wine industries as William Henty sailed from Launceston to Portland (in Victoria) in 1834 and planted grape cuttings there. Though not conclusively proven, it's believed that John Hack planted vines in South Australia in 1837, closely followed in 1838 by John Reynell.

Warmer vintages (possibly attributable to global warming) has had positive effects on region's industry, allowing grapes in recent vintages to achieve full phenolic ripeness, making for vibrant wines that have been widely accepted as world class.
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