Syrah / Shiraz
(Pronounced See-rah / Shih-RAHZ)
Syrah is a dark-skinned red grape variety widely planted in wine-growing regions throughout the world. Although its origins have been disputed, it flourishes in the Rhône Valley of France, the Columbia Valley of Washington State, and Australia, where it is known as Shiraz and is considered the country’s national grape. As one of the most diverse and versatile red wine grapes, Syrah is used to make single varietals as well as blends. It is the primary grape variety used to make the famous peppery, earthy red Rhône wines of Côte Rotie and Hermitage, and is an important component to most Rhône blends, including Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, and Côtes du Rhône.
From easy drinking and fresh to complex and full-bodied, Syrah is capable of producing an array of different wines. The typical style and flavor profile of Syrah include dark fruits like blackcurrant, cherry, and plum, as well as notes of pepper, tobacco, oak and spice. Flavors may vary depending on the climate and soil type of where the grape is planted, in addition to the winemaking practices chosen. The moderate climate of the northern Rhône Valley will produce wines that are medium to full-bodied, dark and earthy, with notes of blackberry, black pepper, and mint. In hotter climates like the Barossa Valley of Australia, expect full-bodied, rich Syrah with intense berry and jammy fruit flavors and hints of spice, licorice, and leather.
As an earthy, fruity red wine, Syrah pairs well with red meats, lamb, sausage, roast pork, barbeque, and game meats like venison or pheasant. Also try it with stews, chili, spicy pizzas, and dishes with lots of black pepper or strong herbs. Vegetarians can enjoy it with grilled vegetables like portobello mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Because of it’s high alcohol content, it is not recommended with extremely spicy food or lighter fish dishes.
Some believe the Syrah grape originated in the ancient Persian city of Shiraz, and was then brought to Rhône.
In 1999, DNA profiling proved Syrah to be a genetic cross of two grapes, the white mondeuse blanc and the black dureza.
Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, which is a completely different grape.
More than half the world's total Syrah is cultivated in France.
Immigrant James Busby, who brought vine clippings with him from Europe, introduced the Syrah grape into Australia in 1832.
Because of their high tannin content and concentrated flavors, Syrah wines respond very well to lengthy bottle aging and tend to improve over decades. Syrah is a wine that can easily last 30 years.
Ben Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz 2007Syrah / Shiraz
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Amon Ra has youthfully toned-down notes of blackcurrants, blackberry preserves, plums and cracked pepper with nuances of licorice, dark chocolate, cedar and...Read more
- Region: Australia
Ben Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2012Syrah / Shiraz
Deep purple garnet in color, the nose displays cassis and violet fruit notes. The palate is rich, voluptuous and mouth-filling with spicy fruit characters and a long, elegant finish....Read more
- Region: Australia
Cruse Wine Co. Syrah 2015Syrah / Shiraz
"The 2015 Syrah Charles Heintz Vineyard is an outrageously beautiful, vivid wine. A rush of blue and purplish fruit, lavender, licorice and dark spice make a strong opening statement. Today, the...Read more
- Region: US - California - Sonoma
d'Arenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz 2015Syrah / Shiraz
The nose is chock-full of fresh blackberries, cherries and dark chocolate sprinkled with spices. The palate is fresh and juicy, ripe red fruits mix with plums, blackcurrant, flowers and a twist of...Read more
- Region: Australia
Domaine Gangloff Cote Rotie "La Barbarine" 2013Syrah / Shiraz
Medium/full bodied, elegant, fresh and vibrant, with a blast of olive tapenade, perfectly ripe cherries, flowers and black raspberries. This youthful wine is equally satisfying on the nose and palate.Read more
- Region: France - Rhone
From 33-year-old vines grown at 2,600 feet in the granitic soils in the Sierra Foothills at the Fenaughty Vineyard. The terroir lends the wine the wet earth, minerals and blackberry notes found...Read more
- Region: US - California