Do you love juicy fruit, chocolatery oak and powerful tannins in your red wine? Then I have the perfect bottle of Australian Shiraz for you!
Happy Australia Day!
Today marks exactly 234 years since the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson.
Whether you celebrate Australia Day or not, it’s a great occasion to open a bottle of excellent Aussie Shiraz.
And since no major event in Australia is celebrated without the quintessentially Australian Hand Pies, you do not even have to think long about the food to serve with your wine.
A brief history of Australian Shiraz
Australia’s most popular red grape variety arrived in the country in the 19th century. It is actually called Shiraz due to a spelling mistake when first imported, but indeed identical to Syrah from the French Rhone Valley. Though over time the grape developed certain local characteristics, differentiating it from old world Syrah.
By the way, did you know Syrah grapes are indigenous to the northern Rhone Valley? For some time, it was not clear where this variety actually originated, and in the past the city of Syracuse in Sicily, Syria, or Iran were often cited. Yet more recently, thanks to a new DNA profiling it was discovered the grape is actually native to France. More precisely, Syrah is a crossing for an old variety called Dureza from southern France and Mondeuse Blanche from Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in the southeast.
As a rule of thumb, Australian Shiraz could be described as a full-bodied red with high alcohol, and vibrant berry and plum on the nose and palate. That said, Shiraz is made across all of Australia’s various wine region and each region will produce distinct styles of this hugely popular red wine.
That said, the characteristic Australian full-bodied Shiraz for which the country is still famous for hail from the Southern Australian wine regions including Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale – the latter home to Coriole Vineyards.
About Coriole Vineyards
Founded in 1967 by Hugh and Molly Lloyd, Coriole Vineyards today is owned and managed by the family’s second and third generations. It’s nestled only a stone’s throw away from Gulf St. Vincent within the verdant hills of McLaren Vale, round about one hour from Adelaide.
The majority of Coriole’s vineyards are planted to Shiraz, McLaren Vale’s leading grape variety, with the oldest vines dating back to 1919. A small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, the two other main varieties grown throughout McLaren Vale are also grown. Moreover, Coriole was the first to experiment with Mediterranean varieties. Starting with Sangiovese in 1985, later white varieties Fiano (in 2001) and Piquepoul (in 2010) were added too.
If you ever happen to visit the winery, the on-site restaurant offers a 5 or 7 course tasting menu based on seasonal produce, obviously pairing with Coriole’s own outstanding wines.
Tasting notes: Coriole Redstone Shiraz McLaren
Grapes for the Redstone Shiraz come from three different vineyards in McLaren Vale in order to provide complexity. Grapes from Blewitt Springs vineyard contribute a vivid fruit character, Coriole Estate vineyard contributed a savoury structure and the Willunga vineyard is responsible for the earthy richness.
Grapes are fermented in small open fermentation racks as well as in closed fermentation racks. It’s aged 14 months in French and American oak
The wine’s name itself refers to the local ironstone common in the soils of McLaren Vale.
In the glass, a dark ruby red.
On the nose, expressive fruity aromas of plums and blackberry.
On the palate, spicy pepper notes and flavours of red fruits. Full-bodied and velvety with fine-grained tannins. Great fruit-length.
Food and Wine Pairing: Coriole Redstone Shiraz McLaren
Coriole Redstone Shiraz is a typical Shiraz pairing well with BBQ, Hamburgers, braised beef, braised chicken, duck, grilled meats and vegetables, roast lamb, and aged hard cheeses.
I have paired the wine with a traditional hearty Australian Hand Pie, perhaps one of the most traditional picnic foods of Australia.
Recipe: Mini Aussie Hand Pies
Locally also referred to as ‘party pies’, these little bites are quintessentially Australian. You will encounter them at any major event, picnic or family gathering.
Typically, these Australian pies will consist of a tender beef filling with pie gravy, wrapped in a shortcrust base and a flaky pastry topping.
Serves 12 mini pies
125 g clarified butter
650 g all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
450 g ground beef
200 ml beef stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
75 dark barbecue sauce (tomato sauce)
For the pie dough, add butter, clarified butter and a generous pinch of sea salt to the flour. Mix until well combined. Add the egg and 100 ml cold water and mix until obtaining a soft dough. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and fry until translucent, then remove.
To the same skillet, add the ground beef in batches and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Take skillet from the oven and return onion and beef.
Mix cornstarch with 2 to 3 tablespoons of beef stock.
In a small pan over medium heat, add the remaining beef stock, tomato paste, barbecue or tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon pepper. Stir in the cornstarch paste. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.
Set aside to cool, then stir into the ground beef.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Grease a 12-mould muffin pan.
Divide the pastry dough into 12 equal pieces. On a lightly dusted worksurface, roll out into circles then place into the muffin moulds. Spoon in the beef filling.
Roll out the puff pastry, cut out circles and place on top of each pastry.
Lightly beat the egg and brush the to of each pastry. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden-brown.