Red with white: Three grape blends to try

Judiciously handled, viognier adds aromatic complexity and perfume to shiraz.
Judiciously handled, viognier adds aromatic complexity and perfume to shiraz. Photo: Shutterstock


The idea of blending red and white grapes isn't new, but on the face of it, it does seem odd. Some of the best of the genre are reds from France's northern Rhone Valley, where syrah (shiraz) can have a little white viognier added. Some Australian wineries do the same. Why? Judiciously handled, viognier adds aromatic complexity and perfume to shiraz, and it's a source of softness and lushness. Wine fashion is irritatingly fickle these days, and this once trendy blend is occasionally dismissed out of hand by noisy fashionistas, but thankfully some great winemakers maintain the faith. The best shiraz-viogniers can be counted among Australia's great contemporary red wines.

Yalumba The Y Series Shiraz Viognier 2015 $13-$15

Score 89

By Farr Shiraz 2016.
By Farr Shiraz 2016. Photo: Supplied

Easy-drinking shiraz viognier from Yalumba's excellent South Australian vineyard resources. Dark plum, peach, flowering herb, and red berry pastille aromas are clean and inviting. In the mouth it's round and juicy, plump and soft. A real crowd-pleaser and great value. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over two years.

Stockists include Vintage Cellars stores; First Choice stores.

By Farr Shiraz 2016 $72-$75

Score 95

Bright, deep and dense, this Geelong region shiraz with 4 per cent viognier is complex, even in youth. Exotic spice and pepper, demi-glace, florals, black fruit, subtle oak and foresty aromas introduce a stylish, succulent middleweight of elegant intensity, with perfect balancing acidity and superfine tannins. Cork; 14 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink over 10 years.


Stockists include Wine House, Southbank (Vic); Five Way Cellars, Paddington (NSW).

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2017 $115-$120

Score 93

Benchmark Canberra region shiraz, co-fermented with 6 per cent viognier. The 2017 suggests a cooler vintage. Its delicate cherry, rose and violet characters have a typical peppery touch, but also savoury, leafy herbal edges. Of medium body and fine texture, it has integrated tannins carrying a dry, long finish. Needs time. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Yes, two to 10 years.

Stockists include Five Way Cellars, Paddington (NSW); Blackhearts & Sparrows stores (Vic).