Episode 6: Terroir, Screwcaps & Aussie Shiraz

November 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Episode 6 – Link to Podcast

Segment 1 ~ Terroir

Terroir is the concept that tells us why a wine made of the same grape, on the same street, can be unique. It is one word that suggests that a number of influences including soil, sun, water make a difference in the flavour of a wine.

A great example of this is found right here in BC. Every region seems to excel with a grape or two. In Argentina it is Malbec, Burgundy it is Pinot Noir, but here in BC I believe that grape to be Cabernet Franc.

Although not as commercially popular, I find that Cabernet Franc is more expressive and consistently delicious than is Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. My first wow experience was with the 1998 Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc, and that experience has been matched every year since.

Trick of the Trade ~ Most BC Cabernet – Merlot blends are made of mostly Cabernet Franc with, obviously Merlot, and perhaps some Cabernet Sauvignon

Suggested Wines ~ Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc $23-25, Hester Creek Cabernet-Merlot $17, Bartier Bros. Illegal Curve $20 (private & VQA stores only).

Segment 2 ~ Screw Caps

Although looked down upon as the symbol of a cheap, ‘hobo’ wine for many years, the public image of a screw cap has done a 180. It is now often preferred for everyday consumption to that of a cork.

Pioneered by the Australian Wine industry as a cost reduction measure as the cost of replacing a faulty wine due to cork taint was 2-3x more than it was for European and North American wineries.

For every day wines the screw cap is a better closure than is cork or synthetic cork and the wine stays fresher longer.

Screw caps are no longer simply for wines priced from $10-$20, many $30, $40 and $50 wines are now available in screw cap.

Segment 3 ~ Aussie Shiraz

Shiraz is to Australia, what Malbec is to Argentina or Cabernet Franc is to BC (do you like how I threw that in there), and is another example of the concept of Terroir.

Shiraz and Syrah are genetically the same, but the flavour of Aussie Shiraz is world’s apart from that of BC Syrah or the wines of Cornas in the Rhone Valley of France.

So why the different name after all Syrah/Shiraz immigrated to Australia from parts of the world that called the grape Syrah?

Naming the Australian expression of Syrah Shiraz is actually quite brilliant actually. In one word they told us the Australian story of terroir and linked the wines back to their ancient roots (pun intended).

The story goes that Alexander the Great fell in the love with the wines of a particular region of Persia that is now called Iran. So to did the Roman Emperor Probus. In fact Probus is credited with bringing the original clippings from Persia, up the Rhone river where the ships ran aground and instead of tossing the clippings, the industrious citizens of southern Gaul (now France), planted the clippings. The name given to the vines spoke of where the vines originated and, with time, became Franglecized to Syrah. The original name – Shiraz.

Suggested Wines ~ Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz – wonderfully balanced and graceful – $26-$28 (private stores only), Skulls Shiraz – big and boozy – $18-$20, McLarens on the Shiraz – delightful and full flavoured – $13-$14.

Segment 4 ~ Best Buy of the Week

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2012 Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon

The current vintage available is 2014, and is very similar to the 2012. The only difference is that there is an added layer of complexity and flavour. An enjoyable hint of smoky-ness is present that wasn’t showing in the 2012.

Let us know what you think or make a suggestion for a show by dropping us a line ~ dorkuncorked@gmail.com

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