The Secret History- Baileys Petite Sirah

by Fergal Gleeson
Baileys Glenrowan Petite Sirah 2012

baileys glenrowan
Glenrowan, a small Victorian town, is where Ned Kelly made his last stand in 1880. The label on my Baileys Glenrowan Petite Sirah 2012 says they’ve been making wine there since 1870.

So perhaps the Baileys were running a wine tasting and waxing on about terroir and cigar box nuances, when Australia’s most famous criminal came to town. Historians to this day are still baffled why Ned Kelly, the earliest hipster, decided to tackle two train fulls of heavily armed police head on.

He and his gang had been successfully evading the Peelers for years. Could he have come for a wine event? Could his famous helmet have started life as a spittoon? Ned was surely a man who would have swallowed rather than spat. Was this what led to his foolhardiness?

Petite Sirah, also known as Durif, is an almost extinct grape in it’s home, the South of France. It’s most widespread plantings are now in California but it also pops up in Australia under both names.

Baileys release 2 versions – Durif is the heavyweight bruiser and the Petite Sirah is an early picked, more pared back expression. It’s almost black in colour, with dark fruit, tannins and balance. Yet another interesting Victorian red that wine critics have slung points at. Baileys also do a celebrated range of fortified wines.

Ned Kelly’s first arrest was for the assault of a hawker named Ah Fook (no I didn’t make that up). Such is Ned’s enduring influence, the victim’s name is still uttered today at times of extreme disappointment such as when your roof leaks or when the Wallabies concede another penalty.

No doubt Ned had cause to repeat it many times, over his short life, as another troop of police emerged on the horizon. Kelly showed more gravitas in his last words- “Such is life!” Destined to become the best known Australian of all time, we’ll never know for sure if he made the wine tasting.

But I’ll certainly head along to Baileys when I get to Glenrowan and raise a glass of Petite Sirah to the brave and foolish outlaw.

Rating: 3.5/5. RRP $25. For more Wine Reviews read and follow  Drink and be merry!

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