Updated: Nov 7
Cabernet Shiraz blends have become increasingly popular in recent years at home in Australia but more broadly around the world. We wanted to give you a bit of the history of this wine style, what to expect from a Cabernet Shiraz blend, and how to pair it with food. there is a lot of information on the internet about these wines but as you might have guessed by the title we do things a little differently at Thirsty Palette but more about that later! first lets learn about an Australian classic.
Cabernet Shiraz blends have a long history in Australia. They were first created in the 1950s as winemakers sought to combine the bold fruit flavours of Shiraz with the structure and complexity of Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting blend is a wine that has the best of both worlds: the rich, spicy flavours of Shiraz and the firm tannins and dark fruit notes of Cabernet.
When it comes to taste, a Cabernet Shiraz blend can vary depending on the percentages of each grape variety used in the blend. Typically, the wine will have a deep, dark color and aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, and spice. On the palate, you can expect a complex blend of fruit, spice, and tannins being contributed through both grape varieties that linger on the finish.
One of the benefits of a Cabernet Shiraz blend is its versatility when it comes to food pairing. The bold flavours and tannic structure make it a great match for rich, meaty dishes like steak or lamb. It can also pair well with earthy vegetables like mushrooms or roasted eggplant. For a more casual meal, a Cabernet Shiraz blend can complement a hearty burger or barbecue ribs. Basically if you are eating a good hearty meal with lots of red meat... this is a good start!
When selecting a Cabernet Shiraz blend, it's important to consider the region and winery producing the wine you'll notice a difference even between our Lovedale expression versus one from just down the road in Pokolbin. Australia is known for producing excellent examples of this wine style, particularly from regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and of course The Hunter Valley. Some wineries to look out for include Penfolds, Wolf Blass, and d'Arenberg. As Shiraz and Cabernet are some of the most popular grape varieties grown in Australia you won't be short of good blends to try.
So we know that a Cabernet Shiraz blend is a complex and delicious wine that combines the best of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon the Cab provides the tannin structure which allows the wine to develop well beyond the 5 year mark and the Shiraz gives fleshy fruit from day one... this means if you want to drink it young it is going to taste great but equally if you want to let it mature you'll see benefit with that as well. With its bold fruit flavours, firm tannins, and versatile food pairing options, it's easy to see why this wine style has become so popular in recent years all around the world and not just in Aus.
So how does all this general knowledge help us with the Thirsty Palette expression? Our Shiraz Cabernet is a really rich red and purple coloured expression from Shiraz grapes grown on our property and cabernet grapes from Sweetwater Estate which is the oldest privately held estate in the Hunter Valley. On the palate you are hit with really robust plum, dark cherry, black berry flavours with underlying notes from vanilla caused by the integration of flavour from the selection of french oak barrels. From a young age our wines have complexity of flavour due to the double Oak process meaning you really can drink it young and still get a huge amount of enjoyment and sophistication out of it!.
You can taste really strong bold flavours of tobacco and cigar box flavour from the American oak which even includes some notes of Bourbon. We transferred this wine after one year from french oak to American oak to give and that is where the real depth of flavour and complexity arrives. The combination of different oaks blend together to give a rich complexity that is very vibrant and incredibly rewarding. The wine is really starting to develop chocolate notes on the back tones now that it has been bottled for a year, those flavours will continue to develop over time.
We anticipate this really robust expression to peak somewhere between 7 and 10 years from now but very drinkable until 15 years. However we will keep you up to date as the wine develops... there is a real art to wine making that doesn't just come exclusively from growing grapes and putting them in a bottle. With each vintage we are making tweaks and changes to our processes meaning in a decades time when this vintage hits it peak we will have perfected the process for this beautiful blend!