Long ago, when we had plenty of shiraz but not so much cab, winemakers wanted to stretch the volumes of Cabernet and fill the perceived "hole" in the middle of its palate. Shiraz was perfect: its lush, dark fruit perfectly complemented the angular acidity and truculent tannins of the Cabernet. A new style was born.
But what proportions? Depends on your terroir, your vines, your personal taste as winemaker - and drinker. Some prefer Shiraz in the majority, some Cabernet. But whatever your preference, it's as Aussie as a meat pie and tomato sauce: nowhere else in the world is this combination of grapes so widely made and consumed.
We kick off with a wine of amazing value from Tait Wines: the 2016 The Ball Buster. This wine has received 90 pts or higher from The Wine Advocate for 15 years in a row! The winemaker says he named the wine after his wife. He's either very brave or very stupid... maybe a little of both.
Then onto Brian Croser's "retirement" project, Tappanapa Wines. Their Whalebone Vineyard red is always amazing, and a firm favourite in the restaurant. Millions of years ago this vineyard was a beach where some unfortunate whale got stuck.
FInally, Redesdale Estate's La Scassatina. This was conceived as a kind of Victorian super-Tuscan. It's fully mature right now, medium-to-full bodied, and an absolute classic with Italian food, be it bistecca Fiorentina or just a bowl of pasta al pomodoro.
2016 Tait Wines 'The Ball Buster' Shiraz-Merlot-Cabernet, Barossa, SA
2016 Tappanapa 'Whalebone Vineyard' Cabernet-Shiraz, Wrattonbully, SA