Why shiraz/viognier is the perfect red wine for beginners

Date published: 29 November 2014

Most of us love wine, in fact, this year will see sales reach 151 million cases equating to £9 billion.

It’s big business, however, while white wines and rose continue to grow, red wine is declining. This is possibly due to how we like to consume wine in this country with a great deal of it drunk socially. This does not work so well with red wine, which usually requires food to accompany it.

There are quite a few easy drinking red wines that can be quaffed with or without food. For some what is lacking in red wine is the fruit kick you get from say a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.

Enter Shiraz Viognier.

This unique blend of grapes hales from France in the Northern Rhone region just south of Burgundy; with up to twenty percent of the white grape viognier fermented with the red Shiraz (or syrah as it is known in France).

So why mix these opposing wines?

Shiraz from this region is peppery and spice with some vegetal notes whilst Viognier is characteristically aromatic.

The result is a wine with a lovely fruitier mouth feel, counteracting the spice and delivering a very drinkable wine.

Other continents have worked their magic with these grapes with great success, notably South Africa and Australia.

Oz is world famous for its excellent Shiraz with bigger fruit and bigger alcohol than its French counterpart due to the amount of sun and increase in temperature.

My recommendation would be a blend from Barossa in Southern Australia. Sometimes with as little as five percent viognier only added.

Generally the warmer the climate the more fruit should be present (depending on the variety) thus making these wines more approachable for the red sceptics.

Also try Chilean Carmenere, Spanish Rioja or Garnacha or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you are looking to venture to the darker side this should be an enjoyable journey.

Once you’re on the reds next stop is Fleurie, Beaujolais.

Food & Wine by Paul Sheerin


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