Shiraz is often perceived as masculine, perhaps because the flavour profile regularly uses typically masculine descriptors. Dark, dense, powerful, rich, meaty, oaky, mature, are all words that, rightly or wrongly, tend to make us think male rather than female. While there is no doubt that shiraz is a big wine – dark, dense and tannic with epic teeth-staining abilities – I firmly believe that if it were a person she would be female. She’s unruly but good-natured, loud at times but with a heart of gold. Great value, the life and soul of the party but also the salt of the earth. At first her big personality seems daunting, but once you get to know and accept her for who she is without comparing her to others, well then you’ve got a friend for life. She’s vibrant in her youth and, like most women, just gets better with age.