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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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  • Penfolds Grange 2012
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • RP 99
    • JS 98
    • WS 97
    • WW 96
    Currently Unavailable $809.00
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  • Levet La Chavaroche Cote Rotie 2013
    Syrah/Shiraz from Cote Rotie, Rhone, France
    • V 95
    • RP 94
    Currently Unavailable $57.99
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  • Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah 2010
    Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
    • RP 100
    • JH 97
    • WW 96
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  • K Vintners The Beautiful Syrah 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP 97
    • WS 94
    Currently Unavailable $57.99
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  • Tenet Wine The Pundit Syrah 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • WE 93
    • RP 92
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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  • Penfolds Grange 2010
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • JS 100
    • WE 99
    • RP 99
    • JH 99
    • D 98
    • WS 98
    • W&S 94
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  • K Vintners The Deal Sundance Vineyard Syrah 2013
    Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
    • RP 95
    • WE 94
    Currently Unavailable $37.99
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    37 99
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  • Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2015
    Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
    • WS 91
    Currently Unavailable $46.99
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  • Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz 2015
    Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
    • WS 90
    Currently Unavailable $27.99
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  • Tait The Ball Buster 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • WS 91
    • RP 90
    Currently Unavailable $18.99
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  • Shoofly Shiraz 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
    • V 90
    Currently Unavailable $9.99
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  • Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • JH 95
    • WS 91
    • RP 91
    • WW 91
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  • Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
    • JH 93
    • TP 90
    Currently Unavailable $22.99
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  • Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Terres Brulees 2011
    Syrah/Shiraz from Cornas, Rhone, France
    • WE 94
    • WS 92
    • V 90
    Currently Unavailable $45.99
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  • Guigal St. Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice Rouge 2013
    Syrah/Shiraz from St.-Joseph, Rhone, France
    • JS 95
    • RP 95
    • WS 93
    Currently Unavailable $119.99
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    119 99
    119 99
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  • Sine Qua Non Raven Series Syrah 2006
    Syrah/Shiraz from California
    • RP 96
    • WS 95
    • V 94
    Currently Unavailable $339.99
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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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  • St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz 2014
    Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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    • Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2013
      Syrah/Shiraz from Margaret River, Australia
      • JH 92
      • WS 90
      Currently Unavailable $16.99
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    • Sine Qua Non Dangerous Birds Syrah (woman label) 2007
      Syrah/Shiraz from California
      • JS 100
      • RP 98
      • V 98
      • WS 95
      Currently Unavailable $649.00
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    • Tensley Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah 2015
      Syrah/Shiraz from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
      • V 97
      • RP 94
      • WS 94
      Currently Unavailable $43.99
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    • Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah 2008
      Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
      • RP 97
      • WE 94
      • WS 94
      Currently Unavailable $149.99
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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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    • Clarendon Hills Bakers Gully Syrah 2010
      Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
      • JH 94
      Currently Unavailable $33.99
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    • Sine Qua Non Touche Syrah 2012
      Syrah/Shiraz from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
      • RP 100
      • V 98
      Currently Unavailable $689.00
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