The grape variety of Syrah originated from the Rhône Valley in the southeast of France, where it remains very popular. Even though rumors make out that the grape is coming from the middle east, more specifically from the city ‘Shiraz’ in Iran, studies have shown that the Rhône valley has always been its home. Syrah is the child of the grape varieties Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, also two varieties originated from the Rhône valley.
Syrah can grow perfectly in warm and dry climates, which explains why the grape has enjoyed increasing popularity in Australia over the last decades. Down Under they refer to the grape as Shiraz and it has become a real flagship for the Australian wine making industry. The grape can be very rich and powerful, even more so in hotter environments.
The grape develops a thick skin and has a lot of colour and tannins. However due to the spicy tones it is still considered to be more of a fresh grape variety, rather than a ripe one.
The spicy notes are the first thing that gives away the identity of the Syrah, this can be noticed by the aromas of black pepper, green peppercorn, sage, and dried herbs. In France we will find more fresh fruit notes such as blueberries, red plums, and black cherries. Australia gives us, due to the hotter climate, more ripe notes such as plum sauce, black raspberry, dried blackberries, and cherries. When aging on wood aromas such as cigars, dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and sweet tobacco will be added.
Bold red wine
The firm aromas along with the high number of tannins makes this a wine to enjoy with a dish that is just as bold! For the Australian versions you can never go wrong with steak, preferably grilled or BBQed. The French versions are usually blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre (GSM blend), which makes this a bit softer and accessible. Still the choice for anything steak remains, but also slow cooked lamb, pork stews and Mediterranean meat dishes will do the trick!