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Syrah/Shiraz

Marked by unmistakable aromatics, savory palate, and an elegant texture

Marked by unmistakable aromatics, savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône region of France, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie (where, unusually, it is co-fermented with a small percentage of Viognier to add perfumed aromas and improve color stability). It is also an important component of the so-called GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, where it adds dark fruit flavors and spice to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia’s Barossa Valley as well as throughout California—particularly the Central Coast region—and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine that has become wildly popular in the last few decades. There, it is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. It takes on an entirely different personality in Australia, where under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

The wide range of styles produced means that Syrah has an equally wide-ranging role with food. For best results, the weight and complexity of the dish should be matched with the weight and complexity of the wine. Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine. Lamb and beef are ideal, but care must be taken to avoid spicy dishes as Shiraz is often quite high in alcohol.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the word, particularly in South Africa. When you are looking at an unfamiliar wine for a Syrah/Shiraz grown outside of France or Australia, this can be a helpful piece of information to determine the wine’s style: if the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. On the other side of that coin, there is a movement building in Australia to produce elegant, old-world versions of this variety and label them as “Syrah.”

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  • Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier L Block Shiraz 2009
    Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
    • RP 95
    • WS 93
    • WE 93
    Currently Unavailable $36.99
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  • Yalumba Galway Vintage Shiraz 2013
    Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
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    • Shoofly Shiraz 2014
      Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
      • V 90
      Currently Unavailable $9.99
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    • Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2013
      Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
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      • Henry's Drive Shiraz 2012
        Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
        • JH 93
        • WE 92
        • WS 91
        Currently Unavailable $31.99
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      • Clarendon Hills Brookman Syrah 2010
        Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
        • JH 96
        • RP 91
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      • Mitolo The Jester Shiraz 2014
        Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
        • WE 91
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      • Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013
        Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
        • JH 96
        • JS 93
        Currently Unavailable $22.99
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      • Henry's Drive H Padthaway Syrah 2014
        Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
        • JH 91
        • V 90
        Currently Unavailable $22.99
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      • Torbreck RunRig 2012
        Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
        • WE 97
        • RP 97
        • WS 95
        • V 94
        Currently Unavailable $189.98
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      • Torbreck RunRig 2013
        Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
        • RP 98
        • JS 97
        • WS 96
        Currently Unavailable $189.99
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      • Wirra Wirra Catapult Shiraz 2014
        Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
        • WS 89
        Currently Unavailable $16.99
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      • Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2014
        Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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        • d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2011
          Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
          • V 90
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        • Heartland Directors Cut Shiraz 2012
          Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
          • JH 94
          • WS 92
          • RP 90
          Currently Unavailable $33.99
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        • Henry's Drive Magnus Shiraz 2010
          Syrah/Shiraz from Padthaway, Limestone Coast, Australia
          • V 91
          • RP 91
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        • Tyrrell's Hunter Valley Shiraz 2014
          Syrah/Shiraz from Hunter Valley, Australia
          • JS 95
          • WE 92
          Currently Unavailable $21.99
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        • One Chain Vineyards The Opportunist 2014
          Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
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          • Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz-Cabernet 2013
            Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
            • V 90
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          • Cimicky Piping Shrike Shiraz 2014
            Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
            • WE 90
            • V 90
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          • The Chook Shiraz-Viognier 2014
            Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
            • V 90
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          • Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2014
            Syrah/Shiraz from Clare Valley, Australia
            • WE 90
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          • Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2012
            Syrah/Shiraz from Margaret River, Australia
            • JH 95
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          • Bleasdale Bremerview Shiraz 2013
            Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
            • V 91
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          • Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz 2013
            Syrah/Shiraz from Margaret River, Australia
            • JH 96
            • WS 92
            • RP 91
            Currently Unavailable $33.99
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