With the Cellar Craft January Limited Release being Syrah and the World Vineyard Australian Shiraz on sale we thought we would focus on this grape. First off it is important to note that Syrah and Shiraz are in fact the same grape. The Aussies can take the blame for adopting their own name for this grape variety.
Syrah has a long history in France, being grown in Southern France since early Roman times, although it originated in the middle East. This grape is found in many famous French wines such as Hermitage, Cotes-du-Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape to name a few. Of course in these cases Syrah is blended with other wines, but undoubtedly Syrah is the backbone of these wines.
The typical characteristics for young Syrah’s are deep-colouring, tannic, with strong tar, spice and pepper. As they mature they take on characteristics are sweet blackberries, blackcurrants and plums and some smokiness.
The grape as Shiraz is synonymous with Australia where it has become the country’s most widely cultivated variety. The Aussies have definitely put Shiraz on the map and perhaps equal footing to other grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. They have been so successful marketing Shiraz that the French have had to react. Many are not aware of the predominance of Syrah in France, because of the French tendency to market their wines not by the grape variety name but rather the region and the style. Now many French wines are appearing as Shiraz’s, an example being the humorously named Fat Bastard Shiraz.
It is important to note that Petit Syrah is an entirely different grape variety, but often confused with Syrah.