We’ve fallen head over heels in love with Syrah! If you’re a red wine lover, we know it will be love at first sip for you, too! Missa Capozzo, our Director of Sommology, explains why this special grape is a lip-smacking, heart-pumping red that will amp up your wine game.
Syrah is a dark red grape that produces fuller-bodied, deeply-hued wines, known best as the backbone of the red wines from the Northern Rhone Valley of France. Syrah became wildly popular in the New World when Australia began growing and exporting delicious yet inexpensive bottles of this wine, although in the Southern Hemisphere, it is often called Shiraz.
What’s the difference between Syrah and Shiraz?
Genetically, there is no difference between Syrah and Shiraz. It’s the same grape. Stylistically speaking, they can be very different. Old World Syrah can be quite elegant, refined, and lean, with perhaps more earthy and gamey notes than its New World counterpart, and with noticeable black pepper. New World Shiraz is often bold and intense, full-bodied with significant ripe fruit and rich dark chocolate tones. It’s also worth mentioning that the Petite Sirah grape is often misunderstood as being a smaller version of Syrah, or at the very least, related to Syrah. Petite Sirah is very much its own grape with its own DNA and its own characteristics!
Syrah’s Flavor Profile and Food Pairings
Syrah offers beautiful fruit flavors of plum, blackberry, black cherry, and blueberry as well as black currant. In addition to fruit, this exciting grape also provides notes of violet, cracked black pepper, smoke, black licorice, and rich dark chocolate. It is typically vinifed as a medium- to full-bodied dry red wine with medium plus to high tannins, medium plus acidity, and medium alcohol content.
When it comes to pairing Syrah with food, my mind immediately goes to the smoky lusciousness of BBQ, such as pulled pork or chicken, BBQ ribs, or dry rubbed brisket. Syrah is also exceptional with game meats, grilled meats and veggies of all sorts, juicy burgers, hefty comfort foods, and pizza with meat toppings. Of particular note, Syrah paired with dark chocolate mint is truly an adventure of the palate and absolutely must be tried. A bottle of Syrah and a box of thin mint cookies is truly all you need for an unforgettable snack.
Traveling Vineyard Syrah
Our latest Syrah, 2017 Jack Canyon, comes from hand-picked Paso Robles Syrah grapes and pairs well with stuffed peppers, antipasto and dark chocolate. We also have two award-winning premium Syrahs popular among our wine lovers. 2016 Activist Private Reserve, Syrah, Santa Barbara County earned a Gold rating by the Beverage Tasting Institute’s World Wine Championship judges. Our staff pick is our Gold-rated 2016 Tria Reserve, Mouvédre Syrah, California. When it comes to family gatherings and parties, we always stock up on Syrah! Ask your Wine Guide to sample one of our Syrah wines at your next in-home wine tasting with Traveling Vineyard!