On Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to the Shiraz Showcase at the CTICC. Now in its seventh year, the night is all about celebrating and drawing attention to an often underrated varietal – the bold and flavoursome Shiraz. This year included the winners of the 2015 Shiraz SA Wine Challenge so my expectations were high.
I should probably admit now that I am a wine peasant – I honestly know next to nothing about tannins, taste or terroir and I’m a bit scared of Shiraz because usually the flavours are just too harsh for me. But I decided to go with an open mind and I asked my lovely Lorzi friend to go with me, because she knows and appreciates wine far more than I do.
We took an Uber so we could safely try as many wines as possible (all in aid of the noble cause of transforming my palate of course) and we arrived to find a room overladen with tables all bearing our top SA vineyards’ best Shiraz offerings. Lorzi and I decided to make a bit of a game out of swirling and sipping – we competed to see which of us could identify the correct tastes and ingredients before we read up on the vintage. Suffice to say it was embarrassing. In the beginning we didn’t get any of them right, but then we realised what flavours are common to all Shiraz (pepper, plum, spice, fruity, oak, etc.) and we got better at it. We were particularly partial to the Babylonsteron 2013 Shiraz (and not just because it had the prettiest bottle), but the Black Elephant Vintner’s 2012 Armistad Syrah was our favourite because it was so smooth and light.
I’m not quite sure how many wines we sampled – it was lucky I had some of the delicious food on offer because otherwise I probably would have been rather a drunk Sam. Lorz and I had a lot of fun trying new wines and chatting to their makers – it’s always lovely to meet the faces behind the wines because they’re usually so passionate about what they do and incredibly knowledgeable as well.
All in all it was a great night, and I think I might just consider ordering Shiraz in the future – I’m not sure if I’m a convert yet, but a few more bottles of the Armistad and I might well be.