Australia: Australian Shiraz
What is Aussie Shiraz?
Shiraz has been the most widely planted red grape in Australia since the 19th century, when cuttings were brought from Rhone Valley syrah vines in France. Shiraz prospers in many Australian wine-producing regions and the country has at its disposal a healthy amount of old Shiraz vines producing spicy, concentrated wines in the same manner as old vines produce the finest northern Rhone wines.
Penfolds Grange, made since the 1950s, has garnered a reputation as one of the worlds greatest wines, and has served as a role model for the heights that Shiraz can achieve within Australia. In recent years US consumers have woken up to the greatness of Australian red wines and Shiraz wines in particular. This has driven prices of super premium wines up to and beyond the $100 mark.
While the new boutique wines are generating a great deal of interest at the high end, prices have not increased for all Shiraz across the board (as has happened with California cabernet.) The large firms are still making extremely attractive Shiraz at very reasonable prices, and Australian red wine is still at the very top of the "value for money" list. At the value end of the market, the "base" shiraz from wineries such as Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Maglieri, Wynns, Rosemount, or Lindemans are not only great values but are also made in relatively large quantities.
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