Shiraz (or Syrah depending on style) was one of the earliest varieties to be welcomed to Australia in 1832 thanks to the arrival of James Busby and his now infamous grape variety collection – and fortunately Shiraz was immediately established in some of Australia’s finest vineyards. From that moment on this deep red, juicy variety with wonderful tannins has been closely connected to our viticultural landscape…
Colonial Australia and our love of Shiraz
The timing of Shiraz’s arrival meant it became embedded in Australia’s wine culture when our modern cultural identity was still in its infancy. It was the days of bush poetry and ballads, convicts, rangers, and early colonial settlers. For example, Australians hadn’t even tasted a Lamington yet! So Shiraz’s ability to thrive and ‘get on with the job’ as many people of the time had to, meant it earned its place as our preferred red wine variety – in fact, all these years later Shiraz is still regarded as, “the classic Australian red” by many wine enthusiasts.
So while winemakers crafted Australia’s earliest Shiraz wines to express our unique terroir, colourful and evocative bush poetry and ballads captured the essence of hard-working new-Australians, and our untamed landscape. Essentially, side by side, Shiraz and early Australian literature was bringing to life our colourful character. And of course, Gundagai was no exception.
A vibrant crossroads, home to travellers, farmers and entrepreneurs, and boasting expansive pastoral lands along the foothills of our beloved Snowy Mountains, Gundagai was most notably put on Australia’s folklore map by Banjo Patterson’s The Road to Gundagai. This acclaimed piece of writing was later transformed into song by another Australian icon of the bush, Slim Dusty. The town was also featured in the famed Flash Jack From Gundagai (the namesake of one of our Regional Characters Series wines!)
Talking of wine, it was around this time that the McWilliam family established Gundagai’s first vineyard. While that particular winery is no longer in Gundagai, many new award-winning wineries, including Tumblong Hills’ very own vineyards, now call Gundagai home.
Not just because Shiraz is Australia’s most widely planted and appreciated red wine variety, we chose to include it in our Regional Characters Series as our Flash Jack Shiraz because its strong, well-defined characteristics are still perfectly suited to Australia’s and International tastes, just as it was in those early days.
So whether you’re a local farmer, a traveller or an entrepreneur, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself at Gundagai’s crossroads one day then we recommend you get your hands on a cracking piece of early Australian literature and pour yourself a beautiful, regional Shiraz – to really drink in Australia’s unique heritage and acclaimed viticulture. You’ll be treated to the rich and earthy flavours typical of Shiraz, most notably ripe cherry, plum and berry fruit characteristics, along with smoky tobacco notes, oak influence, and hints of spice and white pepper.
Of course, if you can’t get to Gundagai we happen to have some of Gundagai’s very own Shiraz bottled and ready for you to enjoy. Cheers.