The worldwide surface area planted to Shiraz vines has gone from less than 10 000 hectares in the early 1980s to more than 150 000 hectares in 2007/2008, according to Lynne Sheriff MW, speaking at the 2010 La Motte Shiraz Experience yesterday.
Who’s going to buy the stuff ? is the question because as Sherriff pointed out the Yanks prefer Cabernet Sauvingon and Chardonnay. That country’s producers went berserk about the variety (tons crushed increasing from under 600 in 1990 to an all-time high of over 147 000 in 2005) but consumers have yet to take it to heart. This was following Australia’s success with it in the 1980s, but the volume and value of Aussie Shiraz exports are now in decline. It’s the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France that’s currently enjoying success with the variety, the area producing easy-drinking wine in the price range of £4 to £5 a bottle.
After these salient facts, those assembled promptly proceeded with a tasting of world benchmarks, ranging all the way up to £240, as you would pay for Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline 2004.
Below is how I rated the wines, along with their collective ranking.
1. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite 2006
Overall ranking: 6th
2. Eagles’ Nest Shiraz 2007
Overall ranking: 2nd
3. = Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2005
Overall ranking: 5th
3.= Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2006
Overall ranking: 12th
5. = Alban Vineyards Reva Syrah 2006
Overall ranking: 7th
5. = Geoff Merrill Henley Shiraz 2004
Overall ranking: 1st
5. = Guigal Côte Rôtie La Mouline 2004
Overall ranking: 4th
5. = La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Viognier 2007
Overall ranking: 8th
9. = Penfolds Grange 2004
Overall ranking: 3rd
9. = Bramasole Bracessa Antinori 2006
Overall ranking: 10th
11. = Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz 2004
Overall ranking: 9th
11. = Voge Cornas Les Viellies Fontaines 2006
Overall ranking: 11th