Why You Need To Be Drinking Syrah Wine
McKenzie Hagan |
If you love full-bodied red wines such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, we have the perfect bottle to add to your dinner party menu. Syrah wine is one of the most popular varietals grown globally — but it doesn’t always get the same recognition as it’s crowd-pleasing cousins. We’re here to change that.
With incredible depth of flavor, beautiful savory notes, and the ability to stand up to some of the strongest dishes in the culinary world, Syrah wine deserves a place at your table.
Syrah or Shiraz?
First things first, let’s get this name confusion out of the way. Syrah wine and Shiraz wine are the same. The only difference between Syrah wine and Shiraz is where the grape is grown.
Syrah is the French name for the grape, and the name is commonly used throughout Europe, South America, New Zealand, and South Africa. Shiraz is the Australian name.
There are a few theories of where the name splitting originated. While some wine historians argue that the wine is named after the ancient Persian capital, Shiraz (the place where some believe it originated) others argue Shiraz is simply an anglification of the French word Syrah.
Strangely, Syrah (or Shiraz) is a wine with many names. Others include:
- Antourenein noir
- Hignin noir
- Marsanne noir
Whatever you want to call it, Syrah is a fascinating wine with complex flavors and a cool history. A wine by any other name would taste as full-bodied.
What Is Syrah Wine?
Syrah wine is famous for its fuller-than-full-body. It’s very high in tannins and alcohol, sometimes being as high as 15% ABV, so skip this grape variety if you’re looking to lower your alcohol intake.
Syrah grapes have incredibly thick skins, so much so that Syrah winemakers will often soak the grapes in order to reduce the highly tannic flavor.
Syrah wine is probably most similar to Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot due to its full body, high tannins, and medium acidity. If you're a fan of these robust red wines then Syrah is a natural pivot. If you prefer lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Syrah may miss the mark.
While Syrah is predominantly known as a red wine grape, it does create some interesting rosés too. Syrah rosé is very different from a lot of other rosés due to its strong peppery overtones and citric quality. Look out for Californian Syrah rosés for a pink wine like no other.
The flavor of Syrah wine can really depend on the climate. While cooler climates (such as the Rhône Valley in France) produce wines that have notes of blackberry, warmer climates (such as the Barossa Valley in South Australia) produce wines with a jammy quality.
Where Does the Syrah Grape Grow?
Syrah wine is grown all over the world. It’s considered both a New World Wine and an Old World Wine, meaning it’s produced and celebrated in European countries (such as Italy, Spain, and France) as well as the rest of the world (like Chile, Argentina, the United States, South Africa, and Australia).
There are currently 470,000 acres of Syrah grapes growing globally. And while the United States grows 23,000 acres in wine regions such as Napa Valley, the majority of Syrah grapes grow in France and Australia.
France has the largest Syrah crop in the world. Syrah grapes grow in the celebrated French wine region of the Rhône Valley. Some of the most expensive Syrah wines are produced there. They belong to the Côtes-du-Rhône wine appellation and must adhere to strict wine producing standards.
Australia also produces large quantities of the Syrah grape. Notable wine regions for the grape include McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast, and the Barossa Valley.
What Does Syrah Wine Taste Like?
While Syrah’s tasting profile depends on where in the world it was grown and produced, there are some common shared flavors.
Syrah is a fruit-forward wine. It’s known for its strong fruit flavors, such as blueberry and blackberry. These flavors taper off to reveal more savory notes, such as black pepper, tobacco, and licorice.
Drinking a Syrah from a New World region, such as California, will be a different experience compared to a Syrah from a cooler climate, like Northern Rhône. While a new world Syrah boasts intense flavors of violet and dark chocolate, an Old World Syrah will have more earthy qualities, such as olives or even charcoal.
How To Pair Syrah Wine
Because Syrah has such a full body and bold flavors you want to drink it with equally bold food.
As with many red wines, Syrah pairs perfectly with meat. Any meat cooked on a BBQ stands up well to Syrah’s intense flavors, as do red meats such as steak, beef Wellington, and flavorful German sausages.
Syrah is an amazing complement to strong cheese, such as blue cheese or Camembert. Try it with your next charcuterie board to really bring out those deep robust flavors of the wine.
Syrah also tastes great with vegan meals. Try a glass alongside eggplant, mushrooms, beans, and other legumes, especially when cooked with fragrant herbs like rosemary. Pair Syrah with a rich mushroom stroganoff for a decadent feast.
How To Serve Syrah Wine
If your Syrah is too warm, the high alcohol content will give you a burning sensation similar to taking a shot of whiskey. You don’t want to miss out on the nuanced flavors.
The best temperature for Syrah wine is 60-65 degrees. Try refrigerating it for 30 minutes then letting it rest in a decanter for 10 minutes.
It’s best to decant your wine before serving, as this will aerate the vino and remove any sediment that may have built up in the bottle. A large decanter would be the best choice for complementing Syrah’s large body.
Just like other full-bodied reds, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec, Syrah wine is best served in a wide-bowled glass. This will soften the harsh flavors and allow you to experience the intense aromas.
A Body To Die For
Whether you call it Syrah or Shiraz, this delightful varietal is for those who like their wines boozy, tannic, and intense in flavor. Whether you’re tucking into a steak, a cheese plate, or a delicious mushroom stroganoff, Syrah is the perfect companion.
Grown all over the world, yet highly favored in France and Australia, Syrah wine has a host of nuanced flavors depending on the country it’s produced in, so make sure you try as many different kinds as you can. While Old World Syrahs are a little more subtle, New World Syrahs can be jammy, so take a look at the country of origin before you buy.While many love the intense full body of Syrah, it can be a little much for those who prefer their wine a little lighter. Our Usual Red is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir, so it’s bursting with the dark fruit flavors that make Syrah irresistible while remaining light and fresh. Pick up a few of our single-serve bottles and pop open a fresh glass of red every time.