Syrah – A Beginner’s Guide
Syrah originates from France where it has helped make the wines of the Rhone Valley famous worldwide. It makes up the much sought-after wines of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie and is an integral ingredient in the blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But Syrah has also become an international sensation, now found in other corners of the globe.
Where to look for Syrah?
In France, Syrah lovers will be thrilled to know that they can find less expensive examples (compared with Hermitage and its ilk) in the Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon. While many of these wines are blends, Syrah is brilliant for blending, and frequent blending partners include Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.
In Australia and other parts of the New World, Syrah is known as Shiraz. These styles tend to be massively ripe, higher in alcohol, and full of jammy, fruity, flavours in addition to that touch of black pepper spice. These are big wines which are excellent with similarly bold meals – barbecues, steaks, and so on. Barossa Valley is Australia’s centre for Shiraz where both single variety and Rhone-style blends are made. Dotted throughout the Land Down Under are producers who make sparkling versions of this wine. Unique and tasty.
Syrah is popular in the US as well. Washington State, in particular, has become noteworthy for its Syrah and you’ll find examples in California as well.
What does Syrah taste like? As we mentioned above, it can be jammy, fruity, and full of black pepper. French versions tend towards being more savoury, with black olive, dried herbs, and cured meat aromas and flavours. Its fruit profile is usually comprised of black and blue fruits: blackberries, blueberries, and so on. It is typically oaked, so you’ll also get a delightful array of vanilla, baking spices, and smoke. As a tannic wine with good levels of acidity, it is capable of ageing for several years to a decade or so.
Syrah, Shiraz, whichever you prefer, this grape makes great wines in a range of styles. Discover more by trying it for yourself. Use Wine Picker, food and wine matching app, to find out where you can order up a fantastic glass of Syrah!