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State by State, A Celebration of Premium Australian Shiraz Tasting – 15th of May, London 

Featuring over 30 iconic producers from Western Australia to New South Wales, each showcasing a current release alongside an older vintage (5+ years) of each wine, this latest tasting was a truly rare opportunity to appraise our knowledge of the country’s Shiraz/Syrah winemaking.

Australia’s Shiraz wines have garnered a global reputation for their bold flavours, robust structure, and distinctive character. Among the many renowned producers in this region, Wakefield and Penfolds stand out as exemplars of Australian winemaking excellence, each offering unique expressions of Shiraz that captivate wine enthusiasts worldwide.

Wakefield Shiraz: A Testament to Terroir

Hailing from the Clare Valley, Wakefield wines embody the essence of this iconic Australian wine region. The Clare Valley, with its unique combination of elevation, cool climate, and terra rossa soil, provides an ideal environment for producing expressive and nuanced Shiraz wines.

Wakefield’s Shiraz is renowned for its deep crimson hue and complex aromas of dark berries, spice, and subtle hints of eucalyptus – a hallmark of Clare Valley Shiraz. On the palate, these wines exhibit a full-bodied structure with velvety tannins and a lively acidity that adds freshness and balance.

What sets Wakefield Shiraz apart is its ability to age gracefully. While enjoyable in its youth for its vibrancy and fruit-forward profile, Wakefield Shiraz gains complexity over time, developing secondary flavours of leather, tobacco, and cedar that complement its rich fruit core. This aging potential reflects the winery’s commitment to crafting wines of exceptional quality that can be savoured for years to come.

Penfolds Shiraz: A Heritage of Innovation

Penfolds is a name synonymous with Australian winemaking heritage and innovation. With a history dating back over 175 years, Penfolds has continually pushed boundaries and redefined Shiraz’s possibilities in Australia.

Penfolds’ flagship Shiraz, like the iconic Grange, showcases the artistry of blending and vineyard sourcing. These wines often combine Shiraz with other grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, to create multi-dimensional and age-worthy blends. This blending approach results in wines of incredible depth and complexity, offering a symphony of flavours ranging from ripe black fruits and chocolate to savoury notes of black olives and spices.

What makes Penfolds’ Shiraz unique is its consistency in quality across different vintages. Whether it’s the approachable Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz or the prestigious Grange, Penfolds’ Shiraz wines display a remarkable balance of power and finesse, making them a benchmark for Australian wine craftsmanship.

Comparative Tasting: Wakefield vs. Penfolds

Tasting Wakefield and Penfolds Shiraz side by side provides a fascinating exploration of the diversity within Australian Shiraz.

Wakefield Shiraz typically showcases a more restrained and terroir-driven style, emphasizing purity of fruit and Clare Valley’s distinct characteristics. On the other hand, Penfolds Shiraz tends to be more opulent and layered, reflecting the winery’s meticulous blending techniques and extensive aging in a variety of oak barrels.

Our thoughts:
Wakefield Shiraz impresses with its finesse, bright acidity, and elegant spiciness, offering a glimpse into Clare Valley’s cool-climate appeal.

Penfolds Shiraz, like the Bin 28 or RWT, reveals a richer texture, deeper concentration of flavours, and a seamless integration of oak, highlighting the artistry of blending and maturation.

Australian Shiraz, whether from Wakefield or Penfolds, embodies the spirit of innovation and passion that defines the country’s wine industry. While Wakefield captures the essence of Clare Valley’s unique terroir with purity and finesse, Penfolds demonstrates the art of blending and crafting age-worthy wines that have become benchmarks of quality.

Both wineries offer a captivating journey into the world of Australian Shiraz, showcasing the diversity and excellence that have made this grape variety an international favourite. Whether you prefer the elegance of Wakefield or the sumptuousness of Penfolds, exploring these wines is an enriching experience that reveals the depth and beauty of Australian winemaking.

Cheers to the exploration of Shiraz, one glass at a time!