Great Value “Second Label” Shiraz from Australia: Four Sisters Shiraz

4 sistersTrevor Mast is a great Australian winemaker whose wines have made it to the front cover of Wine Spectator magazine, alongside the likes of Penfold’s Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace. His wines and wineries have all the credibility they’ll ever need.

Trevor is also known as a pioneer of cool-climate viticulture, which is evidenced by the boatload of awards and high ratings that he’s won over the years for his Mount Langi Ghiran wines. Langi Ghiran was his first and flagship  winery, which he bought in 1987, but he created Four Sisters Winery in the mid-1990′s so he could offer a line of wines that was stylish but sophisticated and appealed to a younger crowd, i.e. the Millennial Generation. He had several Millennials at home — his four daughters — and they’re the namesakes for the winery.

To give you a bit of backstory, Mast was first bitten by the wine bug when he was 20 years old, and honed his skills in viticulture and winemaking with a four-year stint in Germany. It may seem like it’s a long way from German Riesling to Australian Shiraz, but the remote region of Victoria where Mast’s vineyards lie can be just as challenging for its cool temperatures.sisters

The cool-climate growing conditions of Victoria province are obvious in the Four Sisters Shiraz 2008 that I enjoyed yesterday. It stands apart from most other $15 and under Shiraz because it’s not just fruity and jammy. The acid produced by the cool temperatures makes it bright and snappy, and the 4% Viognier blended right in during fermentation keeps the fruit bright and fragrant. The 2008 vintage in particular produced rich and intense flavors in the berries. There’s certainly plenty of Shiraz’ trademark black raspberry fruit in this wine, but it’s joined by spice, vanilla and that tangy finish.

This would be a great food wine, and I’d love to taste it with spicy red sauce or maybe red Chile. Do yourself a favor and find this or any other Four Sisters wine and give it a try. I’m going to do the same. Cheers!

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