The state of play for Shiraz, the influence of trends; and, an ‘intelligent’ approach to buying your wine: the WineIQ Guide.
There has been some commentary that the growth and development of wines and taste trends can appear like an evolution, as depicted by Darwin. Recently discussed is the analogy of growth in a species or population: Shiraz, and how a predator – the market – determines or shapes its fate, as Michael Fridjhon put it.
The Australians appear adept at transforming ‘sunshine into a bottle’. We cannot single out sunshine alone as the factor that allows Shiraz to flourish. “This is like saying ‘teenage boys love sex!’” Michael added at the Shiraz Experience earlier this year.
But it’s an almost Malthusian thought that when excess or a glut appears, there are forces at work to drive change and perhaps reduce quantities, in a sense, in a quest to improve quality. In order to survive, categories or styles emerge at either end of a spectrum. Tastes evolve and, what would have worked 10 or 20 years ago, is now producing a backlash.
The world of wine changes over time,.and we have certainly seen significant movement over the last 50.years. Varieties get caught on a wave of passion as.trends take flight, and we realise that.we can look back and use some examples as a case study for a projection on what the future holds.
Australian reds are falling somewhat out of favour these days, because .they.are now too fruit-driven, too.tannic or too rich; all for a market that is moving in a different direction: one of restraint.
For many, the savouriness of the Rhône style is more appealing than the.fruit-driven Barossa style. Shiraz offers an opportunity to utilise this versatility of style, through its ripening curve. You can harvest earlier to obtain a.certain spicier profile, or you can harvest later and obtain a richer profile. This is an attribute in favour of Shiraz. But value is dropping faster than the.volume – bad news in terms of brand image. As a business that is price-point driven, producers eventually have to subsidise the increases they experience to retain a price point.
Therefore, it won’t take super-powers of deduction to indicate the fact that they can only do this by diminishing quality. Yields must increase, irrigation has to occur with requisite overheads, and many other repercussions, which all impact on the overall image of this.Shiraz grape.
But South African Shiraz appears capable of producing both the peppery spice and fruit-driven flavour profile, as well as the more savoury style, and we do it pretty well. And we’re enjoying it!
Don’t forget to look out for your copy of WineIQ. This fascinating new little guide takes into account Wine magazine and Platter’s ratings, and comes up with a value-for-money assessment. This is a time to embrace the future with a look towards something new, in whatever form or shape that may take.
WHAT WE'RE DRINKING THIS MONTH
CATHRYN: Two exceptional wines: Nitida Coronata and Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The former demonstrates the beauty of white blends; the latter, elegance.
SAMM: At Villa San Giovanni in.Wonder boom, I enjoyed field mushrooms in an exotic strawberry .sauce, accompanied by De Morgenzon’s Barbera.
JEANRI-TINE: To curb palate boredom I’ve turned to delicious Rhônestyle red blends. Swartland red blends Tobias Red 2010 and Sequillo Red 2009 have addressed my need very well.
Tagged Cathryn Henderson