Pronounced: sher-arz and sher-ra respectively

History: Australian shiraz grapes came from the Rhone wine-growing area of France. In turn, this grape was brought there in the 14th Century from a returning French crusader.

He had come back with the grapes from Shiraz in what was then known as Persia, but these days is Iran. In Europe, the grape is called "Syrah", but the term "Shiraz" was adopted in Australia.

Description: One of the most heavily planted red grape varieties in Australia. Shiraz (or hermitage) grows in most winegrowing regions and makes about every level of red wine from quaffing casks to Grange Hermitage.

Taste/Aromas: The best shiraz produces full wines of deep dark colour, full of chocolate, licorice and fruit with hot spice and warm alcohol complimented by firm but fine tannins.

Regions: Shiraz is grown in both the cool and warmer climates, including southern Victoria, south-west Western Australia, the Barossa, Hunter Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale.

Cellaring: Wine to have with food, not quaffing When young, it is a tempting, fruity experience. But it is flexible enough to be cellared for 25 years and mature into a lovely mellow drop.

Food Beef, steak, BBQ, porterhouse, vege stew-ragalouto, game, Greek, mature cheeses, Italian,