Did you know Syrah from France and Shiraz from Australia are the same grape variety?

Shiraz/Syrah Cheat Sheet

Although both regions produce quality wines with high tannins and acidity, the flavours and style are very different. Traditionally, the difference was regional, but now it is mostly due to the climate and the wine-making style.

Syrah’s home region is Northern Rhone of France. The wine produced here has notes of blackberry, black pepper and chocolate (depending on the use of oak). When blended with Viognier, it takes on some floral notes, too. The most famous French Syrahs are from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah is also one of the main grapes of the Rhone blend (GSM – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) in the Southern Rhone. 

Shiraz came to Australia only in the 1830s and quickly adapted to the warm climate of the region. Australian Shiraz is a rich, ripe, full-bodied wine with high alcohol and flavours of plum, blackberry and black pepper. 🍷

Sometimes, in Australia, these grapes are used to make old-world style of leaner, high-acidity and savoury wines that are labelled as Syrah.

Black pepper is the most prominent flavour of both Shiraz and Syrah. Today, the wine is called Shiraz or Syrah depending on its style, rather than the region it is grown in.

Have you tried both? Do you prefer Syrah or Shiraz?

Shiraz and Syrah Food Pairing

High-acidity, moderate-tannins, smoky, peppery style of Syrah as well as, the full-bodied, fruit-forward style of Shiraz go well with a lot of bold food flavours, meats and sauces. 

While a Syrah pairs well with leaner meats, mushrooms and winter vegetables, the Shiraz is a great match for BBQ ribs, roast meats and burgers.

As with any pairing, matching the style and flavour of the wine with that of the food will make it easy. Some of my food pairing suggestions are:

1. BBQ Ribs. A full-bodied, ripe Shiraz will pair well with the sweet and spicy flavours of the BBQ ribs.
2. Mushroom or Chicken Enchiladas. The spicy, earthy, herbal flavours of the food will match with the elegant Syrahs.
3. Aged Gouda. Aged cheese pairs well with both styles of this grape. The fruitiness of the Syrah and the boldness of the Shiraz match the texture and the flavour of Gouda.
4. Fries with salt, pepper (and bacon dust!). The peppery, savoury, meaty flavours will complement the flavours of the Shiraz as well as that of Syrah.

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