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Brokenwood Wines
27 March 2023 | Wine Pairing | Brokenwood Wines

A Foodie’s Guide to Pairing Shiraz With Food

Brokenwood 2019 Graveyard Shiraz

Bramble and berry fruit, plum and red cherry, vanilla bean and dark chocolate…if you’re suddenly craving a glass of rich, full-bodied red wine, perhaps with a plate of rib eye or a sharp cheddar cheese board, then great! That’s exactly what we were hoping for.

In addition to its smooth fruity flavours and spice notes on the nose, Shiraz has the ability to elevate some of the most delicious and hearty meals. Pairing Shiraz with food can be somewhat of an artform, but with a few key insider tips, you’ll be on the way to perfectly paired bites in no time.

Whether you're a fan of a hearty steak or a spicy curry, Shiraz is incredibly adept at pairing with a variety of cuisines and palate preferences. If you're looking to impress your guests at your next dinner party or simply want to elevate your own dining experience for the foodie within you, grab a bottle of our Shiraz and let us guide you through the perfect food pairings.

Shiraz or Syrah? A Brief History

Shiraz, or Syrah as it’s known in other parts of the world, is a red wine grape that has a long and rich history. Its origins can be traced back to the Rhône Valley in France, where it’s been grown for centuries. The grape eventually made its way to Australia in the 19th century, where it thrived in our warm and dry climate.

Interestingly, the grape's name changed from Syrah to Shiraz here in Australia. The reason for this is not entirely clear, but it’s thought that the name change was a result of the unique flavour profile of the wine produced in our warmer climates, which was different from the Syrah produced in France. As a result, Australian Shiraz food pairings have become quite distinct and feature in many winter menus in the Hunter Valley region.

Shiraz Tastes and Techniques

The flavour profile of Shiraz can be influenced by several factors, including the climate, soil, and winemaking techniques used. Here in the Hunter, our Wine Country climate is warm and humid, which generally results in grapes with higher sugar content and ripe flavours. The soil in the Hunter region is also quite unique, with a mix of clay, sandstone, and volcanic basalt, which can affect the wine's mineral notes.

Winemaking techniques can also impact the taste of Shiraz and affect what food it pairs best with. For example, fermenting the grapes with their skins for a longer period can result in a wine with more tannins and a deeper colour. Ageing the wine in oak barrels, as can be seen in our own Cellar Door barrel rooms, can also add complexity and depth to the wine's flavour profile. These are key considerations when pairing Shiraz with food.

How long a Shiraz has been aged will also impact its flavour profile and subsequent pairings. Young Shiraz like our 2021 Hunter Valley Shiraz tends to be fruitier and more vibrant, while aged Shiraz like our 2021 Graveyard Shiraz can be more complex and refined. The ageing process can soften the wine's tannins and allow the notes to meld together, resulting in a more nuanced and balanced wine.

Brokenwood 2009 HBA Shiraz with meat dish

Pairing Shiraz With Meat

If you're a meat lover, you'll be pleased to know that Shiraz is a perfect wine to pair with red meat, such as beef, lamb, and venison. The tannins in Shiraz can complement the rich flavours of red meat, and the wine's bold taste can stand up to the intense flavours of grilled or roasted meat.

When it comes to pairing Shiraz with food like red meat, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the intensity of the meat's flavour. A bold Shiraz can pair well with a grilled ribeye steak, for example, while a medium-bodied Shiraz may be better suited for slow-cooked lamb shanks.

Another factor to consider is the cooking method used. Grilled or charred meats can benefit from a bold Shiraz with high tannins, while slow-cooked or braised meats may pair better with a softer, more medium-bodied Shiraz.

Our iconic 2021 Graveyard Shiraz is an excellent choice for pairing with red meat. This wine has a bold and robust flavour profile, with notes of red spice and bramble fruit and an impressive acidity. The wine's tannins are firm and structured, making it a perfect match for rich and flavourful red meats.

Brokenwood Shiraz Flavour Notes Pairs Well With
2021 Graveyard Shiraz Red spice and bramble fruit Osso buco or slow roasted lamb shoulder
2020 Wade Block 2 Vineyard Shiraz Black fruit, dark chocolate and Turkish Delight Beef dishes
2021 Area Blend Shiraz Ripe, blackberry pastille flavours Lamb and veal meats

Brokenwood 2019 Rayner Vineyard Shiraz with cheese board

Pairing Shiraz With Cheese

If you're like us, then you know that cheese and wine are a match made in heaven. And when it comes to pairing cheese with wine, Shiraz is a go-to varietal. The bold flavours of Shiraz can balance the richness of cheese, making for a truly delectable sensory experience.

So, what types of cheese pair well with Shiraz? Aged cheddar is a classic pairing for a reason. The sharpness of the cheese and the full-bodied nature of the wine complement each other perfectly. Blue cheese is another great option, with its creamy texture and pungent flavour. A medium-bodied Shiraz will work best here, as it won't overpower the cheese. And let's not forget about washed-rind cheese, with its earthy, funky flavours. A spicy Shiraz will complement these complex notes wonderfully.

To spice up your cheese board even more, add some cured meats, fig or pear slices and shards of dark chocolate for an unbeatable Australian Shiraz food pairing experience. 

Brokenwood Shiraz Flavour Notes Pairs Well With
2019 Verona Vineyard Shiraz Sweet plum pastille fruit Creamy blue cheese
2019 Indigo Vineyard Shiraz Red cherry fruit French camembert
2021 Hunter Valley Shiraz Soft vanillin and red fruit Sharp cheddar

Pairing Shiraz With Spicy Food

Perhaps less common but no less delicious, Shiraz food pairings with spicy cuisines are blends made in heaven. The bold flavours of this varietal can stand up to the heat and spice of cuisines like Indian or Mexican, making for a truly tantalising combination and a rich sensory dining experience.

When it comes to pairing Shiraz with food like spicy dishes, we recommend opting for heartier dishes like chilli or curry. These dishes tend to have a robust and complex flavour profile that can hold its own against the strong palate of Shiraz. The spice in the food is balanced by the boldness of the wine, creating a perfect harmony of flavours.

According to Wine Folly, full-bodied dry red wines with high alcohol levels pair particularly well with spicy food. The team recommends ‘richly spiced meats, such as cumin-pepper ribs or spicy barbeque, which works as long as the wine is bold enough to stand up to the food’, and advises to chill your Shiraz before serving to create a palate-cleansing contrast with the hot spices.

Brokenwood Shiraz Flavour Notes Pairs Well With
2020 Sturt Road Vineyard Shiraz Pure fruit sweetness with plum and dark cherry aromas Spiced red meat dishes and light curries
2019 Tallawanta Vineyard Shiraz Red spice and red cherry Spicy pork tenderloin, or pulled pork soft tacos
2020 Rayner Vineyard Shiraz* Sweet fruit and dark chocolate Spice-crusted beef fillet, or szechuan beef

*Available to Single Vineyard Club (SVC) members only. To purchase, join the SVC Wine Club or login to your account.

Brokenwood wine delivery box

Shop for Shiraz Online

Like any wine variety, pairing Shiraz with food comes with its recommendations and palate preferences. Depending on whether the wine is medium or full-bodied, what its flavour notes are and how high its alcohol level is all play a vital role in selecting the perfect food pairing.

Whether you’re searching for that succulent slow-cooked beef accompaniment, something to balance the evening’s rich cheese board or a robust glass to stand up to a spicy dish, Shiraz offers your taste buds a delectable addition that can elevate these already delicious dishes. These particular Shiraz food pairings are matches made in heaven for every avid foodie.

Browse our range of Brokenwood Shiraz online to discover tasting notes, winemaker’s comments and food pairing recommendations before purchasing your wine online. 

Still not sure which Shiraz to go for? Visit our Cellar Door for an immersive tasting. Our Match experience will highlight some of our finest red and white wines alongside carefully curated canapés and dishes, so you can get a feel for pairing Shiraz with food from within the heart of Wine Country itself.


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