A recent unsighted line-up of current-release shirazes turned out to be a bit of an apples-and-pears exercise. While there’s general agreement that there are two distinct shiraz styles, not all the samples were that easily boxed into these categories. Certainly some were more typical of the Northern Rhone — spicy, quite peppery and perhaps a little austere. Others matched the Southeast Australian style — big, oaky and quite sumptuous.

There was one that did not seem to me to be vaguely close to either of these broad stereotypes. It was much paler in colour, and perfumed in a way more reminiscent of cinsaut — an impression heightened by its accessible juiciness. There’s no reason a producer needs to panel-beat his fruit to make the wine fit a mould, except perhaps to avoid the disappointment of the average punter when what emerges from the bottle is unrecognisably different.

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