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Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet and Busy Day Soup

As I told you in January, our #WorldWineTravel group is exploring Australian and New Zealand wines this year and I couldn't be happier.  This group of writers is so knowledgeable that I am learning a lot about the different regions and grapes in this country.  Tag along and learn with me!

In January we talked about wines from Western Australia.

This month we are exploring wines from South Australia.  We are focused on red wines and I chose to share with you the Penfold Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet.  Let me tell you a bit about this wine.  Penfolds was established in 1844.  Some of the vines from the 1880's plantings are from some of the oldest continually producing vines in the world.  Penfold talks about this wine saying, "Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet is very much a reflection of the Penfolds winemaking style and philosophy. Sourced from premium vineyards across South Australia, the wine is known for its full-flavored style with excellent shiraz and cabernet fruit, firm yet well-rounded structure, and balanced oak. Made as a traditional 'Australian blend', the shiraz component provides fleshy fruit flavor while Cabernet provides a frame of fine-grained tannins."  This wine fits our profile of looking for inexpensive wines with great flavor.  At $11 a bottle at our Total Wine store, this one fits the bill nicely.

Here's a bit of history as told by Total Wines

The success of Australian wines means Australia is consistently one of the world’s largest exporters of wine. Consumers increasingly turn to Australian wines for both easy-drinking, everyday wines and age-worthy, world-class wines.

English seafarers delivered the first vines to Australia in 1788, and within a few decades were exporting thousands of gallons of wine back home. Settlers learned that conditions on the New World continent varied from tropical in the north to the desert in the central regions, making grape-growing impossible in much of the country. But vineyards would thrive in the coastal areas and river valleys of the states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. Today more than 100 different grape varietals are planted there.

Because of their position in the Southern Hemisphere, the more than 60 recognized Australian wine regions benefit from generous sunshine, low humidity, and little rainfall throughout the year. Their bountiful harvests typically take place six months before harvests in the Northern Hemisphere.

Australia, like the United States, follows the New World tradition of categorizing wines by grape variety. Australia’s top five varietals are Shiraz (known as Syrah to much of the world), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Semillon.

Shiraz is the best-known and most widely planted varietal for Australian red wine. Rich, full-bodied and potent when grown in warm climes, Australian Shiraz may be showcased on its own or blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Chardonnay is the predominant Australian white wine. The quintessential oaky New World style is produced here, as is, increasingly, a more crisp and balanced Chardonnay, grown in the country’s cooler zones.

Australian winemakers also produce sparkling wines in a range of styles, from classic blends of Champagne varietals to a unique, off-dry sparkling Shiraz. Excellent sweet and fortified dessert wines are also produced throughout the Australian wine country.

As in most other wine-producing countries, the narrower and more prestigious the geographical appellation declared on an Australian wine label, the more distinctive the wine. By law, if an Australian wine claims to be from a specific appellation, at least 85 percent of the wine’s grapes must have been grown there. As a result, many of Australia’s value-oriented wines carry the broad South Eastern Australia appellation, which encompasses five states and covers nearly 95 percent of Australia’s vineyards. Producers often use the South Eastern Australia designation when they strive to create a consistent house style by blending grapes from different regions.

We served this wine with Busy Day Soup. This is a fun soup to make that is delicious first out of the pot, but also after a day or two in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to mellow.  Our recipe comes from Simply Stacie, a blogger who really knows what a busy day is, with young children involved in a variety of activities.  For us, our busy days are filled with Zoom meetings and trainings and teaching classes, so sometimes we need a dish that we can start at lunch and finish up at dinner, and that's exactly what we did.

This soup is meaty and hearty, with pasta, tomatoes, and ground beef simmering in onion soup mix and a variety of mixed vegetables.  The wine fits beautifully with this soup, the rich fruits, mild tannins, and balanced oakiness.  I am rapidly finding Australian wines very delicious and approachable, fitting my taste buds quite nicely.

Join my friends with their pairings and read their posts.  The links are below, it is a delightful read.

Check out these articles from the World Wine Travel group of wine writers, and join our #WorldWineTrvel twitter chat on Sat. 2/26/28.

  • Allison on AdVINEtures pours "The Great Australian Red Wine: Cabernet-Shiraz"
  • Camilla goes "Beyond Shiraz in South Australia with Dagwood Dogs, Rissoles, and a Limestone Coast Cabernet Sauvignon" on Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Cindy has "Powerful, Prestigious Barossa Valley Shiraz" on grape-experiences.com
  • Jeff brings "Riverland Surprises in South Australia" on Food Wine Click!
  • Linda offers "Barossa Shiraz from ‘All the Land Around’ on My Full Wine Glass
  • Nicole will be "Splurging with Penfold's Bin 389 and Oxtail Stew" on Somm's Table
  • Robin suggests "South Australia – Cabernet from Coonawarra & Fortified Shiraz from McClaren Vale" on Crushed Grape Chronicles
  • Susannah shares "Barossa Valley Memories" on Avvinare
  • Terri has "Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet and Busy Day Soup" on Our Good Life
  • Wendy is "Visiting South Australia; Home to one of Australia's Oldest Wineries" on A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • and here on Wine Predator, we have "Celebrate Family Fun with Eight at the Gate: 2 Shiraz with Pie Floaters #WorldWineTravel "

Would you like to comment?

  1. This looks like an excellent food and wine pairing! I have never had Australian wine, but would love to try it.

  2. The soup sounds delicious, and I have always known Stacie to be a blogger who knows her food! I am so happy that you are enjoying learning about different places and wines.

  3. My dad was a wine connoisseur and some of the wines from Australia were his among his favorites. The Penfold Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet seems like a good choice!

  4. Looks like a perfect pairing with such a classic Australian Shiraz, bet the 'research' was fun ;)

  5. A delicious approachable wine and a delicious approachable soup. It sounds like a pairing I would like to enjoy curled up in a comfy blanket on the couch with a good book on a rainy or snowy day. All of that sounds like heaven to me right now!

  6. It's raining over here and that soup would be perfect to have right about now. Yum! And maybe a sip of wine to add, too. :) -LYNNDEE

  7. Marie Gizelle8:58 AM

    Have only had Austrian and other european wines, would love to try Australian too! Looks a yummy pairing!

  8. Great minds Terri...I'm sure the pairing was perfect.

  9. Richelle Milar1:55 PM

    Wow! That wine looks absolutely amazing and perfect also that food! I would love to try it!

  10. So cool that Penfolds has a portfolio of wines at every price point. This pairing looks so inviting right now on a rainy day in the PNW.

  11. That looks like some really yummy food, and the wine pairing sounds great. This would be nice to serve when we have guests.


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