What’s in a Name? Syrah v. Shiraz

Do you prefer Syrah or Shiraz?

We want to let you in on a secret…they are the same grape!

Syrah is the main grape in northern Rhone where it produces  the lush Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage wines. It is  known as Shiraz in Australia, where it is the most planted dark skinned grape variety. In the US it is most commonly known by it’s French name Syrah, unless the winemaker chooses to follow a new world style, similar to Penfolds Grange, then they may choose to label the wine Shiraz.

Syrah is one of the darkest red wines out there and is known for its full bodied-ness and mouth drying tannins.  Like many varietals,  Syrah is greatly affected by the areas it is grown in and will have different characteristics depending on the climate and soil. Below are the two most common styles we find:

Moderate Climates (ie Rhone Valley and Washington State):

Medium to full bodied wines with medium to high levels of tannins. Flavors of blackberry, mint and black pepper.

Hot Climates (ie Barrossa Valley of Australia):

Full bodied with softer tannins. Flavors of jammy fruits, notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather.

Syrah pairs great with food; from roasted meats, to bold flavors such as blue cheese, to barbecue with a smokey char. The different styles its produced in, make Syrah a great choice for a wide variety of foods.

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