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Spicy, Savoury, Smokey, Strawberry… the flavours of Shiraz

Upfront fruit with a savoury finish…

Floral bouquet with nuances of cigar box…

Meaty and complex…

Tasting wine with a connoisseur who is able to identify many tastes and flavours, can be quite intimidating. But do not be overwhelmed. The most important part of wine tasting is deciding whether you like the wine or not.

Having said that, knowing a bit more about the wine – where the grapes originate from, whether the wine was matured in barrels, how long it was matured, what the blend is, etc. – will help you to better understand and appreciate what is in your glass. In stead of intimidating, wine tasting can become quite an exhilarating experience.

Once you are hooked, you would probably like to know more and although it is no easy task identifying a wine without its label, you will become familiar with the most obvious differences between various cultivars.

At La Motte we are passionate about Shiraz – or as we call the more traditional French style in which we make our wines, Syrah. Syrah or Shiraz offers a broad flavour spectrum which depends on the fruit used, the winemaking methods and the level of maturation.

When tasting Shiraz, your wine connoisseur friend might talk about cigar box, leather, white pepper and aniseed and you might be in awe as to how he or she identifies plums, raspberries or violets – just on the nose of the wine! You do not have to start with so much detail though.

Use the flavour-wheel recommended by the Shiraz Association of South Africa to help you identify the flavours and tastes of the Shiraz or Syrah in your glass.

Begin with identifying the category. When you smell and taste the wine, do you get a fruity or floral character? Perhaps the nose reminds you of savoury flavours and spices? Perhaps it smells quite chocolaty and sweet?

Only if you can identify the broad categories, start to be more specific. And other than being intimidated by your friend, rather listen and learn – the best way to learn more about wine is to taste with people who are more knowledgeable than you.

Enjoy your Syrah!


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