Wine on Wednesday: Torbreck 2009 Woodcutter’s Shiraz

by Maris Callahan on March 30, 2011

It’s no secret that I know food. I cook it, I eat it, I spend countless hours reading about it, talking about it and shopping for it. I’ve learned a lot about food since I became interested in cooking during college but it’s only recently that I’ve become interested in exploring wines. Sure, I like to drink wine, but that’s where the extent of my wine knowledge lies. So, it was time to call in an expert.

Guest blog post by Janel Syron

Shiraz (Also known as Syrah in France) is the most widely planted red grape in Australia. There are a lot of different styles of Shiraz that are produced as well, ranging from jug wine (think: the ones with kangaroos on the labels) to wine that are internationally recognized and rated among the greatest wines in the world. It’s easy for the casual wine drinker to find high quality Shiraz for around $10-25 per bottle.

How do you know if a Shiraz is high quality? A way to cheat and ensure that you are getting a better quality Shiraz is to look for wines with the name of a wine growing region on the label (for example: Barossa, McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley). If the wine just says ‘Australia’ on the bottle the grapes could be grown anywhere and generally speaking (there is always exceptions in wine) the wines might not be as high quality.

Torbreck 2009 Woodcutter’s Shiraz, made in the Barossa Valley, Australia is one of my fail safe red wines. I try and have a few bottles on hand at all times because it is so versitile. It is a full bodied red wine that smells like blueberry muffins, black cherry, lavender and pepper. This wine is very easy drinking, even for you white wine drinkers, because it is so smooth and well balanced. It is definiately a wine that gets your taste buds thinking because of the layers of complex flavors.

Why you should drink this wine: If you like full bodied, rich wines that give you lots of flavor and dimension without breaking the bank. You’ll find this wine at stores or online between $20-$25.

Wine and Food Pairing Suggestions: For a grown up meal, serve this with grilled lamb,  lamb burgers or Italian beef stew. If you’re looking for dinner on a budget, sip Shiraz with macaroni and cheese for one (or two!) or a grilled hamburger topped with Clothsbound cheddar and crispy bacon.

If you want to see how other people rate this wine:Intensely scented of ripe cherry, kirsch and blackberry preserve with some floral notes and nuances of jasmine tea and spice box. Full bodied, concentrated and crisp in the mouth, it has a medium level of fine tannins to texture the flesh, finishing long. Drink it now to 2017.” -Wine Advocate


Janel Syron is a certified Sommelier and wine enthusiast with a background in the culinary arts.  Currently, Janel teaches wine classes for large groups and individuals who want to learn more about pairing food and wine. Most of her clients are young professionals that have limited time to cook, so they hire Janel to teach them to make easy, healthy meals and choose appropriate wine pairings.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Daryl March 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Interesting post. The extent of my wine knowledge is pretty much limited so I love reading these posts.


Sharlene March 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Wine is something my boyfriend and I are seriously trying to get into. We went to the NYC Wine Expo last month and had so much fun criticizing the wines and figuring out what we liked. Thanks so much for this wonderful guest post!


Roz March 31, 2011 at 4:39 am

Hi Janel, thanks so much for the interesting guest post. Cheers!!!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 31, 2011 at 9:15 am

I wish I knew more about wine too! Good on you for delving more into it Maris! :D


Dishes of Mrs. Fish March 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Thanks for the informative guest post! I enjoy wine, but don’t know much about it…so I really enjoy your Wine on Wednesday features.


Cookin' Canuck March 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Shiraz is one of my favorite varietals – great bang for your buck. I haven’t tried this one, but will definitely look for it the next time I’m at the wine store. Great information!


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. March 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm

would love to try it! I love shiraz


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