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
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
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
Jolie-Laide Halcon Vineyard Syrah 2015Syrah / Shiraz
Light on its feet, ebulliently perfumed and spiced full of all the things we adore about Syrah - lavender, violet, olive, peppercorn and graphite.Read more
- Region: US - California - Mendocino
Montes Folly Syrah 2011Syrah / Shiraz
Montes Folly has a strong deep ruby red color. On the nose the wine is both very intense and elegant with lively black fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and plums with hints of chocolate...Read more
- Region: Chile
Shafer Relentless 2013Syrah / Shiraz
"Pull the cork on this vintage and you'll find an inky, liquid feast - aromas and flavors of meat and game, briar fruit, morels, boysenberry, grilled blueberries and cinnamon. The acidity gives...Read more
- Region: US - California - Napa