Archetype Cabernet-Shiraz 2005
Blend: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Shiraz
Located just north of Adelaide in Sotheast Australia, the Barossa is a popular tourist destination. It was discovered a century and a half ago by German and English settlers as having excellent soil and climate conditions for growing wine grapes.
World-renowned for its big, blockbuster Shiraz wines, the Barossa is Australia's equivalent of the Napa Valley in terms of prestige and name recognition. It is also home to some of the highest-rated Australian wineries including Henshke, Penfolds, and Yalumba. A small area about the size of Napa Valley, its major towns are Lyndoch and Tanunda.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers work diligently to ensure grapes reach the perfect levels of phenolic ripeness.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Shiraz on its own or Rhône Blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Often Shiraz and Cabernet partner up for plump and powerful reds. While much less prevalent, light-skinned varieties such as Riesling, Viognier or Semillon produce vibrant Barossa Valley whites.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.