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Syrah/Shiraz Wines

Syrah is a dark, heavy skin grape that excels in hotter climates such as California, Australia as well as the Rhone Valley in France, where it is often blended with Grenache. Excellent Syrahs are also made in Italy’s Piedmont region and in Sicily.

While the style of Syrah varies from region to region, it is only called Shiraz if it is from Australia, and is called Syrah elsewhere.

The Syrah/Shiraz Wine Grape

Syrah is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines. Syrahs enjoy great popularity in the marketplace, relatively often under the name Shiraz. Due to their concentrated flavours and high tannin content, many premium Syrah wines are at their best after some considerable bottle aging. In exceptional cases, this may be 15 years or longer.

syrah_shiraz_grapesThe Syrah grape possesses the most antioxidants of all the popular winegrape varietals and has a distinct flavor profile of pepper, vanilla, blackberry and spice with a velvety finish. Syrah stands up to very heavy meats, beef, barbecue, lamb, duck, venison, sausage, mushroom, and tuna.

Tasting Syrah

Wines made from Syrah are often quite powerfully flavoured and full-bodied. The variety produces wines with a wide range of flavor notes, depending on the climate and soils where it is grown, as well as other viticultural practices chosen. Aroma characters can range from violets to berries (usually dark as opposed to red), chocolate, espresso and black pepper.

No one aroma can be called “typical” though blackberry and pepper are often noticed. With time in the bottle these “primary” notes are moderated and then supplemented with earthy or savory “tertiary” notes such as leather and truffle. “Secondary” flavor and aroma notes are those associated with several things, including winemakers’ practices (such as oak barrel and yeast regimes), and land terroir qualities.


Buckley Wineholt of Wines.com interviews Dennis Power of The Evans Wine Company of Australia. In this video Dennis explains differences in Shiraz wines from various regions in Australia. (Part 1 of 3)

More Syrah/Shiraz

Blog: Recommendations for Syrah and Shiraz Lovers

Rhone Varieties Tasting Forum

Australia/New Zealand Forum Tasting Forum