Shiraz / Syrah

One Red Grape, Two Names

Shiraz and Syrah are both names for the same red wine grape. This grape is most definitely NOT the same as Petit Sirah, a different red wine grape grown mostly in California.
Syrah Riedel wine glass
The Shiraz / Syrah grape is called Syrah in the US, France and many countries. In Australia it is called Shiraz, where it is considered the finest red wine grown there. Shiraz is certainly the most widely planted red grape in Australia. Now that Shiraz has become well known and popular, some wineries in the US who are making an "Austrlian style wine" with this grape are calling their wines Shiraz as well.

The Shiraz grape was once thought to have originated in Persia, but recent research indicates the grape is a native of the Rhone valley, in France. Yes, there is a town in the middle east named Shiraz that has made wine for centuries. However, that town is NOT where the Shiraz grape came from.

Until recent times, shiraz was best known for its usage in Hermitage, in the Rhone valley. Now Shiraz has taken off as a variety in its own right, bottled as a straight Shiraz wine.

Shiraz is known for its spicy blackberry, plum, and peppery flavors. Often there are additional notes of licorice, bitter chocolate and mocha. Shiraz is even affected by growing temperature - warmer climates bring out the mellower flavors of plum, while cooler temperatures spice up the wine. Shiraz can be made in a fruity style, which many "sweet" wine drinkers enjoy. It can also be made in a dry style.

Shiraz goes very well with beef and other hearty foods. It also goes well with Indian, Mexican, and other spicy foods. This wine is rich and full, and should be served from a large glass at 64F. This makes Shiraz claim the warmest temperature a wine should be served at. Those who say red wines should be served at "room temperature" need to remember that homes in France were very cold a few hundred years ago!

Shiraz can be drunk immediately, but can also be aged for up to 5 years depending on how tannic it is.

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.