"The cross-pollinated grape durif is known as “shiraz on steroids” …

"Good news for lovers of brooding, inky reds – from Queensland’s Granite Belt to Rutherglen in Victoria, there is a renaissance afoot with a variety known as durif. Described as “shiraz on steroids”, it was the unintended offspring of cross-pollination between the littleknown French grape peloursin and syrah, known here as shiraz, with half of its genes from each variety. Botanist Dr Francois Durif first cultivated the grape in his French vineyard and named it after himself. Locally, however, durif is a rarity. It was brought to Rutherglen from France in 1908 by Australian viticulturalist Francois de Castella, and the northern Victorian district has its own durif group with eight members: All Saints Estate, R. L. Buller & Son, Campbells, Cofield, Morris, Rutherglen Estates, Scion and Stanton & Killeen. Of these, the All Saints 2009 Family Cellar Durif ($60) has power and richness restrained by ripe, round tannins, while the opulence of Campbells’ 2009 The Barkly Durif ($48, pictured) speaks volumes. Not to ignore Queensland durif, Ray Costanzo of Golden Grove Estate at Ballandean in the Granite Belt recently won a national gold medal for a durif displaying perfumed liquorice.

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