Syrah

What is Syrah / Shiraz?

  • Red wine Grape from the Rhone Valley in France
  • Pronounced ‘seer-ahh‘ or ‘sheer-raz
  • Will grow almost everywhere, including warm and cool climates
  • Syrah and Shiraz are the exact same grape
  • Named Shiraz in Australia from the city in ancient Persia / Mesopotamia where the grape was originally thought to have been from
  • Prefers warmer climates
  • Thick skin, high tannins
  • Good ability to age due to the tannins
  • Usually barreled in oak
  • The grape has large bunches, small to medium in size
  • Often blended with Grenache in France, Australia with Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Despite the similar name, Petite Syrah has no relationship with the Syrah grape
  • Blends very well with Grenache, as Grenache is very light in color and shiraz is super dark
  • Grenache has notes of sweet raspberries whereas Syrah is sour fruit like blackberries, so blended they balance ripeness with sour

Where is Syrah / Shiraz grown?

  • Best grown in Rhone Valley in France, not much in the north, lots in the south
  • Grown all around the world
  • Number one winemaking country for Syrah is France with Australia second
  • Usually blended with Grenache and Mourvedre, called a Rhone Blend or GSM in Australia
  • Brought to Australia in the 1830s by James Busbey
  • Blended with Chateauneuf du Pape and Coates du rhone with Grenache
  • Blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia
  • Number one grape in Australia however France produces double the amount
  • Hermitage in the Rhone Valley produces premium 100% Syrah wines
  • South Australia has very big wines such as the Barossa Valley and Victoria are more perfumed, Hunter Valley more delicate
  • California had a major grape replanting in the 1990s and Syrah was planted in the Central Valley and Central Coast
  • Sixth most planet grape variety
  • Pinot Noir is a grandparent of Syrah
  • Viognier is a sibling of Syrah, also from the Rhone Valley

What does Syrah / Shiraz taste like?

  • Big, full-bodied, fruity
  • When young has notes of super-ripe fruit
  • Australian and French Shiraz are distinctly different, Australian Shiraz is big, bold, ripe whereas French is delicate and complex
  • France produce elegant Syrah, with notes of raspberry, not deep and inky
  • Blackberry, black currant, chocolate, black pepper, licorice
  • Spicy, good amount of acid so quite balanced
  • Australian Shiraz is high in alcohol (~16%), especially in South Australia compared to France
  • Australia typically produces Shiraz with more oak
  • Australian is big, juicy, deep, and inky in color
  • Dark, rich, super high tannins,. black pepper is the key taste

What food pairs best with Syrah / Shiraz?

  • Pair Australian Shiraz with beefy stews, any stew cooked in red wine, or grilled meats
  • Pair French Syrah with short rib, stews, vegetables, mushroom dishes