What occurs to Shiraz because it ages?Mr and Mrs Romance

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Big and daring, Shiraz is an outstanding wine to place away and drink years and years later, however what occurs to Shiraz when it will get older? We put the Maximus Shiraz from Lisa McGuigan Wines to the check with a vertical tasting.

Lisa McGuigan Tasting Guide - Shiraz vertical tasting

Synonymous with Australia, Shiraz is absolutely our nationwide wine selection. It’s essentially the most broadly planted grape and our greatest wine export, and one in 4 bottles on Aussie tables is a Shiraz.

But how a lot do we actually learn about this wine kind that’s been going for over 4,500 years?

Most of us know that Shiraz is often a robust, fruit-forward wine with sturdy tannins that we often drink with crimson meat, blue cheese and different strong-flavoured meals. It’s the selection of the barbecue and roast dinner, and from its deep darkish purple depths come an depth that may be off-putting.

But that’s not all Shiraz.

Some Shiraz—significantly as Australia’s palate adjustments—is far lighter in physique, particularly when it’s from cooler climates.

Shiraz from hotter, lower-altitude areas just like the Barossa Valley is very often that huge beefy juicy wine. But areas which can be a bit cooler like Orange, the Hunter Valley or Mudgee produce a lighter model Shiraz.

You’ll nonetheless discover these flavours you affiliate with Shiraz: blackberry, clove, candy tobacco—however that mouth-coating unctuousness and typically overwhelming energy is harnessed to create extra construction and refinement within the wine.

Lisa McGuigan Tasting Guide - Shiraz vertical tasting

What occurs when Shiraz ages?

Generally talking, as wine will get older, these fruity flavours you style when the wine’s younger diminish as does acidity and tannins that make your mouth really feel dry. Wine smooths out, and savoury spicy notes develop.

This is what (typically) occurs with Shiraz.

Sweetness turns to a silky mouthfeel, tannins and acidity act as foundations for darker fruit notes to take a seat on whereas oak, tobacco and spice raise so that you’re left with a strong but elegant wine. Some Shiraz can age for 20+ years.


Check out a few of our different Shiraz tales:

Shiraz – the best way to sound like you understand what you’re speaking about 
What meals goes with Shiraz?
our suggestions for different Shiraz in the marketplace


What is a vertical tasting?

This is a deep-dive into the wine-maker’s expertise and to see the impact time has on their wine in addition to how totally different vintages with totally different rising situations can change the wine.

Tasting the identical selection from the identical vineyard (and ideally from the identical winery) however with bottles from totally different years, you may see a cross part of how the wine adjustments over time.

We tried this with Lisa McGuigan’s Maximus Shiraz from her flagship Platinum vary, tasting the 2015, ’16 and ’18 vintages. Although it is a fairly tight grouping—the extra time between vintages the higher—there was nonetheless a transparent change in all of those wines.

Lisa McGuigan Tasting Guide - Shiraz vertical tasting

Maximus Shiraz by Lisa McGuigan

General tasting notes for the Maximus, whose grapes come from vineyards in Mudgee, NSW, are:

“Vibrant plum colour, aroma of black cherry, mulberries and fresh spices with hints of mocha, and rich plum notes, blackcurrants, mocha and spice on the palate.”

And that’s precisely what we discovered as a central spine to all three vintages.

Drinking ‘backwards’—as in youngest to oldest—means you get to see the wine develop and have a baseline to match the older wine towards.

The 2018 classic confirmed ripe plum and large berry notes that Lisa’s notes prompt. The wine had a medium physique as per its area, and surprisingly brief end, although when you’re consuming it, this wine places within the effort. It’s daring, full-flavoured and satisfying.

Next the 2016 classic displayed some softening in these berry flavours, extra spice and a bit of extra size.

Finally, the 2015 wine gave a for much longer end, smoother tannins, bolder chocolate and liquorice notes and a finer acid construction. The fruit notes had receded leaving savoury, spice and French oak to play their position.

Lisa recommends a 5-10 yr cellaring for this wine, so in 2022, we’re proper on the cash for this wine. There could be a pair extra years the place extra of these savoury notes come ahead, however why wait when it’s consuming so properly now?!

Lisa McGuigan Tasting Guide - Shiraz vertical tasting

What do you want for a vertical tasting?

Organising a vertical tasting is straightforward sufficient. At its minimal, all you want is the wine—at the very least three vintages all from the identical vineyard—and glasses. To go the additional mile, you may have sufficient glasses for every bottle, tasting notes on every classic, be aware books, matching meals… you may actually go to city.

If you’re having hassle discovering a number of vintages of the identical wine in bottle retailers, search the vineyard straight. Some promote a number of vintages whereas others have a museum launch program like Howard Park Wines.

The one factor that’s not laborious to seek out for a vertical tasting is keen volunteers!

Lisa McGuigan Tasting Guide - Shiraz vertical tasting

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