Kitchen Tips

The best Shiraz/Syrah and blends from Food's Top Wine Awards 2019

Red red wine, you make me feel so fine! Master of Wine Paul Tudor shares his top Shiraz (Syrah) and blends from Food magazine's Top Wine Awards.

Look out for the Food Top Wine Award stickers on these bottles at supermarkets and selected liquor retailers.
Yalumba Y Series Barossa Shiraz Viognier 2015 ($12)
Lovely aromatic raspberries and boysenberries, but the profile has a unique floral note from the addition of a small percentage of Viognier. Lighter bodied in style, yet lots of interesting flavours. An absolute steal.
Taylors Promised Land Shiraz 2017 ($14)
Lifted cherry berry notes, almost fruit jube in character. Lovely dusty ripe tannins, no obvious oak; this is an easy drinking, very approachable lighter red, that could even stand a light chilling.
Taylors Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet 2016 ($14)
A more complex nose here; still masses of berryfruit, but also mint and something savoury. The palate is soft and long; a nice sweet and sour thing happening. A moderately complex wine at a silly low price.
Arrogant Frog Croak Rotie Shiraz 2017 ($17)
This is a fun, fruity light red from the South of France, with some exotic spice characters and quite creamy to taste. This funky wine will do well at the dinner table.
Johnny Q Shiraz South Australia Shiraz 2015 ($18)
Bountiful berryfruit aromas, some spice notes, perhaps a hint of coconutty oak. This is a warm, round, cuddly red for sipping by the fire on those cold winter nights.
Taylors Estate Shiraz Clare Valley 2017 ($18)
Deep colour, the fruit here is brooding, blackberry, dark plum, with some cedar notes. The oak is also obvious, creamy but also sappy. A solid yet textural wine that deserves to be served alongside a great hunk of red meat.
Babich Hawke's Bay Syrah 2016 ($20)
Gentle pepper aromas, cherry fruit and some sweet, spicy oak as well. Very much a fruit-oriented, clean, polished wine; a lovely expression of ripe Syrah, with good balance.
Jacobs Creek 5th Vintage Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2016 ($22)
This wine has bold currant and raisin notes, maybe a suggestion of blueberry, but otherwise rich and intense. A creamy, sweet texture, with some grippy, punchy tannins on the finish.
Elephant Hill Syrah Hawke's Bay 2016 ($35)
Powerful aromatics and encompassing lifted raspberry and black pepper characters, a smoky, gravelly flavour profile and a taut, lean mouthfeel. If you prefer Kiwi Syrah, this is the wine for you. This is a fruit-driven elegant wine from an up-and-coming producer.
Pasqua Le Collezioni Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC 2017 ($22) (1.5L)
This has to be the red wine buy of the year, right? Characterful, savoury, and very drinkable Italian red for the equivalent of about $10 a bottle. The Montepulciano variety produces lovely medium-bodied wines with spicy fruit and juicy tannins – and this is a great example.
Caravan Petite Sirah South Eastern Australia 2016 ($18)
The grape variety Petite Sirah, more commonly known as Durif, produces bold, dark, fruity reds. This is a very fine example: brambly fruit, supported with a dash of creamy oak. A characterful wine, with dusty tannins and dark chocolate finish.
Duboeuf AOC Beaujolais Villages 2017 ($20)
When I want a lighter bodied red, I often turn to Beaujolais (grape variety Gamay) rather than Pinot Noir. A fruity, fresh berryish wine, with a slightly leafy secondary note. Brambly, spicy fruit in the mouth, with a crisp finish. This style of wine is lovely when lightly chilled.
Villa Pisoni Chianti Riserva DOCG 2015 ($26)
The great grape of Chianti, and Italy for that matter, is Sangiovese and here its trademark savoury personality comes to the fore. Spicy tomato and currant flavours, firm acidity, but an interesting flavour profile that goes well with Mediterranean-style dishes.
Catena Zapata Malbec 2016 ($30)
There's a lot of cheap and cheerful Arginetine Malbec out there, but this is in a different stratosphere from those. Still showing the dark fruit typical of that variety, and leather and liquorice characters, but the palate is rounded and balanced. Masses of dusty tannins, but a wonderful supple texture and clean finish.
Guigal Cotes du Rhone AOC 2015 ($30)
While Syrah plays a significant role in this wine, it is a genuine blend of three varieties (the other two being Grenache and Mourvedre) so is truly something quite different
in style. Gamey, spicy, earthy aromas, the fruit a little subdued, but here it is all about texture and mouthfeel. One of the wine world's most celebrated labels – and this is a cracking good vintage to boot.
Masi Tupungato Valle de Uco Passo Doble 2012 Malbec Corvina ($30)
An incredibly exciting wine, the end product of the esteemed Valpolicella producer Masi establishing a vineyard in Argentina. The nose is very alluring, smoke, chocolate and licorice abound, and there is a savoury element in as well. Chunky tannins, but a lovely svelte texture. Outstanding.
Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT 2014 ($32)
Masi are the masters of incorporating dried grapes in the production of red wine, a technique employed in their corner of northeast Italy for more than two thousand years. The proportion of dried fruit is carefully measured, so there is juicy, fresh fruit characters from the main variety, Corvina. Think dark cherry or damson plum, yet also some spicy intrigue and richness in from raisined grapes. An exotic, seductive wine to grace any dinner party.