Syrah / Shiraz Guide


Called Shiraz in Australia, Syrah is an aristocratic red grape variety, wildly successful, native to the Rhone Valley. With this grape, the winemakers can produce exceptional wines.

Syrah vines grow small berries with dark thick skins. The variety need a warm climate to mature well. The producers have to trim the vines to have a low yield of high quality grapes and they need to harvest when the berry is fully ripped.

Syrah Caracteristics

Syrah gives a deeply dark wine with a high acidity and strong tannins. It is full-bodied, with strong black fruit flavors and typical notes of blackcurrant, blackberry, spices and chocolate. The best wines develop with age complex animal and vegetal aromas, tanned leather and herbaceous notes to be specific. The great Syrah wines have a good ageing potential like the Rhone wines which can improve over decades.

The maturation in oak barrels adds well-integrated aromas of toasted bread, smoke, vanilla and coconut that blended well with the primary Syrah flavors.

Where to find the best Syrahs

Northern Rhone Valley's appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Saint-Joseph produces excellent velvety red wines with great ageing potential. They are full-bodied with intense aromas of red fruit, pepper and spices. Syrah is often found in the blend wines of the South Rhone Valley like Châteauneuf-Du-Pape.

Shiraz is seen in Australia as the national variety. The wine regions of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale produces powerful full-bodied wines more ripped than the Rhone wines. They have intense flavors of black pepper with spicy notes and sometimes touches of eucalyptus and chocolate. 

Syrah is used in South Africa to make lighter red wines with subtle dark fruits notes. The grape is grown in California to make elegant full-bodied wines. Syrah is cultivated only in the warmer climate of Hawkes Bay in New Zealand.