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by Fred McMillin
for February 03, 2000


A No Flaws Shiraz


Prologue

The convict ship CAMDEN carried the first Shiraz (alias Syrah) vines to Australia. The father of Australian viticulture, a 31-year-old Scot named James Busby, had convinced the captain to ship to Sydney FREE his wonderful collection of 570 varieties of European grape vines. The year was 1832. (California would not have a similar infusion of European varieties by the official "father of California viticulture," Count Agoston Haraszthy, for another 30 years.)

Len Evans

Len Evans showing Mrs. McMillin two of his books.


The Rest of the Story

The Shiraz went on to become Australia's most widely-planted red wine grape. I recall that when we talked in Sydney with the leading wine authority Len Evans some years ago, (see photo of Len and my wife) Australia had four times the Shiraz/Syrah acreage of the famous Rhone Valley.

My panel just tasted a dazzler, and here it is.


Wine of the Day

'96 Shiraz, Wolf Blass Presidents Selection, South Australia
28 months well spent in French and American oak
Price—$18 range
Quotes from My Panel: "Wow," "Tasty, tasty!" "Dramatic...nice spice and fruit," "great fruit and complexity."
Rating—EXCELLENT
Contact—Michael Rubin Communications, ph. (707) 571-1521, FAX (707) 571-1809


Postscript

You notice today's wine came from South Australia. Thus, James Busby may have had more influence on it than we know, for Len Evans writes: Part of Busby's cuttings, packed in cases of moss, were sent to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, from where thousands of clippings were taken and spread throughout SOUTH AUSTRALIA!

Credit: Len Evans' Australia Complete Book of Wine

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created February 2000

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