Australian Shiraz: Turbo-Powered or Balanced?

Australian Shiraz: Turbo-Powered or Balanced?


When I first started drinking red wine, I loved full-bodied Australian shiraz. It gave me the maximum bang for my buck in terms of its alcoholic wallop. Now that I love sipping wine over an evening, I look for those with less alcohol, such as cool-climate pinot and riesling.

There's been lots written lately about the rising levels of alcohol in wine, and certainly Australia is no stranger to robust styles. However, I'd like your input on two questions:

Do some wines, like Australian shiraz, California zinfandel and Chilean cabernet, just taste better when they have higher levels of alcohol? Does the richness and power of the other elements of the wine, such as acidity, tannin and fruit, demand an equal force from the alcohol?

Conversely, have you found any ...

... Australian shiraz that is packed with flavor but is lower in alcohol (say under under 14%), elegant and balanced?

In May, I'm off to the lovely wine regions of Down Under. I'm looking forward to visiting wineries such as John Duval, Schild, Two Hands, Torbrek, Rockford, Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Henscke, Peter Lehmann and Shingleback. In your opinion, are any of these representative of the balanced approach, or does that even matter?


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