By James Atkinson

It's an often forgotten fact that some of Australia's greatest ever red wines have been Cabernet Shiraz or Shiraz Cabernet blends, argues Yalumba managing director Robert Hill Smith.

At last week's Australia's First Families of Wine (AFFWUnlocked tasting, Hill Smith said many Australian winemakers have moved away from the traditional blends that are an important part of their heritage.

Robert Hill Smith, centre, with the heads of AFFW

"The world has been besotted with straight varietals for a long time in contemporary history," he said.

"[But] I think there is a realisation now that some of the great wines of the world are indeed blends that sit behind appellation labelling laws."

Hill Smith showcased Yalumba's 2002 'The Reserve' Cabernet Shiraz at last week's tasting, which he said is comprised of 78 per cent Cabernet, mostly from South Australia's Eden Valley.

"The overlying beauty of this wine is its fine grown tannins – very long, very persistent, and very identifiably Australian – that's what's important when we showcase these sorts of wines internationally," Hill Smith said.

"Australia does have a tradition in Shiraz Cabernet and Cabernet Shiraz blends that are not being mimicked around the world."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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