Was there ever a dish better matched with the earthy generosity of a good shiraz? The dense sweetness of slow-cooked lamb - especially a collagen-rich cut such as neck - mirrors the grape's purple and black fruit flavours; the rosemary and mustard echo the spicy notes of shiraz; and the earthy potatoes and stuffing give the wine's savoury tannins something to soak into on the tongue. Look beyond the familiar styles, regions and names, because shiraz is going through a quiet revolution. New techniques are being used in many wineries, from co-fermentation with white grapes such as viognier to whole-bunch fermentation, more commonly associated with pinot noir. As well as planting the grape in cooler spots, some winemakers are also shining the spotlight on regions such as the Grampians that might not have the media profile of, say, the Barossa or Heathcote, but might - arguably - produce better shiraz than either.
Lamb loves shiraz, especially the new wines being made in exciting new shiraz-growing regions, writes Max Allen.