Syrah vs Shiraz and other interesting facts about Shiraz wine in Australia
There are many great red wines out there – one them is Shiraz wine (pronounced si-rah). Shiraz is a red grape hailing from France that has shown different characteristics worldwide, depending on where it is planted. Factors such as the soil, climate, and regional style (known in France as ‘terroir’) contribute to the uniqueness of the Shiraz that is produced there. Still, its basic and notable characteristics remain the same. To learn more, the team here at Wine Design (based in the Hunter Valley) have compiled this article to tell you everything you need to know about Syrah and Shiraz wines.
Shiraz wine is a deep purplish, ruby red wine, which comes from the tannins in deep red grape skins. During the earlier stages, these wines can be dark, inky, and opaque. Compared to Sauvignon Rouge, it is quite deeper and a bit darker. This wine’s colour changes with age – as time passes, the deep purplish ruby red colour can fade into lighter shades of garnet.
Shiraz wine is bold and full of aroma. Generally, it can be tannic and acidic, and it can have hints of blackberry and dark chocolate. Sometimes it can be minty, fruity, or even smoky. This is a wonderful type of red wine that any enthusiast can be enjoy.
Syrah vs Shiraz
Many people researching Shiraz wine for the first time will often come across the name Syrah. However, some get confused about what Syrah actually is.
Technically, Shiraz and Syrah are the same wines, with a different pronunciation, as they come from the same grape. Syrah is what the grape was originally called when it originated in France. Syrah or Shiraz is a mixture of two French grapes called the Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza grapes.
On the other hand, it became ‘Shiraz’ when it was brought down to Australia. These grapes were first brought Down Under by Scottish viticulturist, James Busby. Since then, Shiraz has always played an integral role in Australia’s wine industry.
Shiraz is the most planted type of grape in Australia. Still, no one knows why its name changed from Syrah to Shiraz. Some speculate it to be a natural change due to the changing of accents; other people think otherwise. It could be from rebranding the wine to distance the Australian Shiraz from the French Syrah.
Despite the name and branding change, the grapes are genetically one and the same.
Where are Shiraz grapes grown?
Shiraz grapes are grown in many places, both in the New and Old World. However, in Europe, the most famous place where this type of grape grows is the northern Rhône Valley of France. Notable wines made from this grape in these regions are Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
In the New World, Shiraz grapes are grown in places like Sonoma Coast or Yarra Valley. These wines are sometimes called Syrah due to their close nature to the Shiraz grown in Europe.
Fruitier variations of Shiraz are grown in a warm and sunny climate, making them somewhat different from Syrah grown in the colder parts of France. In Australia, these grapes are grown in Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale in South Australia.
What does Shiraz taste like?
Shiraz is known for its intense aromas and flavours. Shiraz wine Australia tastes peppery, fruity, and earthy and smells strongly of oak and blueberry. It also has light hints of ripe fruit in its scent. So, when you get Shiraz, be prepared for a flavour punch. In short, you can say that Shiraz tastes bold with the taste of berries and spice.
Is Shiraz wine considered dry, semi-dry, or sweet?
Shiraz wine is typically a dry red wine. “Dry” means that the sugar found in the grape turns into alcohol. When all or most sugar becomes alcohol, the wine becomes “dry”. Some residual sugar is left behind at times, especially for starter wines. This can be done purposefully, or it could just be that the yeast just has not finished fermenting. This is why the sweet ripe fruitiness of the Shiraz does not come from sugar itself.
How is Shiraz wine typically served?
Shiraz wine has a higher alcohol content than most wines. For this reason, Shiraz has an ideal temperature range when it comes to serving it. Shiraz or Syrah wines should be served slightly chilled to enhance the flavours. Be warned, though, as serving Shiraz too cold will dull its taste and aroma.
An ideal temperature range for Shiraz or Syrah wine is around 15–19°C. This is possible with a quick chill in the refrigerator. If you cannot finish a bottle of Shiraz, keep it refrigerated and replace the cork. After opening a bottle, it is recommended that you finish the Shiraz within four days. If you exceed, the wine will begin oxidising and will not taste as good.
Which foods pair well with Syrah or Shiraz?
Syrah grown in colder regions has earthy and smoky flavours with a slightly fruity taste. It has slight acidity with moderate tannins. This Syrah type of wine is best served with gamey and meaty food. Pasta, mushroom, duck, and other rustic-type food would work well with it too.
Shiraz grown in warm and sunny regions is fruitier and riper. This makes it an easy drink best served with BBQ, burgers, or typical food found in a casual grill. Shiraz with higher alcohol content fit quite well with braised, roasted, or grilled meats. These bolder and fuller wines can complement lamb or beef.
To make sure your Shiraz tastes good with the food you serve, it is still best to compare their flavour profiles. Meanwhile to find the best Shiraz wine in Australia, it’s best to look for Shiraz recommendations and Shiraz reviews online as well.
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