K Sirah Syrah: Doris Day Never Knew About the Best Syrah Wines
The Best Syrah Wines, By Any Other Name!
Syrah, Sirah, or Shiraz, are all names used for wine made from grapes reported by some to have originated in ancient Shiraz, Iran. But in reality the grape is French and the name Shiraz is an Australian affectation. The grape is called Syrah in the USA, France and many countries. What ever the name, the grape makes the best Syrah Wines.
In Australia, where Shiraz is considered the finest red wine grown. Shiraz is certainly the most widely planted grape in Australia. Now that it has become well-known and popular, some wineries in the USA for making wine using the Australian winemaking method, with this grape.
The Shiraz grape was once thought to have originated in Persia but recent research indicates the grape is a native of the Rhone Valley in France. Shiraz was a city in Iran that made wine for centuries until 1979 Revolution. The grape that is the basis of shriraz/syrah/sirah was named after the city of Shiraz in Iran, but this grape has clearly been identified as originating in northern Rhone in France. So: someone took cuttings from France to Iran, and then named the grape and it stuck.
Sirah is the most commonly used as the name for the wine of that grape, in the United States. But do not confuse Sirah with Petite Sirah also known as Durif in Australia and France. That is a wine of a different grape.
Australians can lay claim to spreading the use of the name Shiraz for the grape called Syrah in France and much of the rest of the world.
Aussies have been focusing on the export stage of their Shiraz wine, which has been growing since the 1980s. They felt they needed to reduce buyer confusion over what they were purchasing, so they altered and adopted the name Shiraz as their own. This name change also helped define Australian wine. The hope was to contrast with the rest of the world. When it comes to best Syrah wines in Australia, no other grape is more important than Shiraz.
The Shiraz grape was one of the original varieties brought to Australia and has become an icon amoung many great wines. It is grown in all regions and the different environmental factors, combined with creative winemaking, results in a complex array of styles and qualities.
In 1831, the Scotsman James Busby, often called “the father of Australian viticulture”, had returned to Europe to collect cuttings from vines, primarily from France and Spain for the purpose of introduction to Australia. One of the varieties collected by him was Syrah, although Busby used the two grapes Scyras and Ciras. The cuttings were planted in the Sydney Botanical Gardens and in the Hunter Region and in 1839 brought from Sydney to South Australia. By the 1860s Syrah was established as an important variety in Australia.
Syrah continues to be the primary grape of the northern Rhone and is linked to classic wines.
In southern Rhone it is used as a blending grape.
Starting in the 1970s, the popularity of the best syrah wines has been steadily increasing. This has sparked the planting of this variety in old locations and in new locations.
In the early 2000s, Syrah became one of the top ten varieties planted worldwide.
In 2016, it was declared as Australia’s number one wine grape overall.
Shiraz is a red grape, with bold, ripe flavours and an easy drinking nature. To ripen fully, shiraz needs a warm growing season.
The most elegant types of Shiraz are most productive when grown in regions with cool nights and high daytime temperature ranges. This is ideal in Australia. In regions where it tends to be hotter, the grape produces a jammy, blackberry and plum fruit character, and has less delicate aromas.
Shiraz Flavour and Aroma Profile
Shiraz has a dark fruit colour, and results in the darkest full bodied red wines in the world. The dark fruit flavours include a range from sweet blueberry to savory black olive, berries, currants, and even chocolate. When Shiraz is tasted, it packs an initial punch of flavour that tapers off and ends with a spicy peppery note of after taste.
Shiraz is a full bodied, long lived, fruity wine. It has tart acidity and hard tannins.
Shiraz is a dry wine.
Shiraz nicely pairs with aged cheddar cheese, edam or gouda.
Australian Shiraz makes a great blending partner. Its’ ripe open nature has flavour and texture options that are increased when blended with wines of other regions.
Recently, Australians have been experimenting with co-fermenting small amounts of Shiraz with a different grape. This has shown to brighten the color of the wine, lifts and adds fragrance to the aroma and taste, and provides a roundness that makes the wine more pleasant.
Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular blend that offers a mid palate punch of big fruit.
“GSM” stands for Grenache Shiraz Mataro, which is a blended red wine which is very popular. The grapes on their own are boring, but combine these, and the flavours come alive.
Shiraz is an easy drinking wine that should be consumed within 1- 2 years of purchase. There is no benefit to aging this wine.
It tends to be good as a lively young wine.
Shiraz and Millennials
Research has shown that millennials are turning to wine, more often, as their drink of choice. In addition to this, they indicate that they are comfortable spending a little more on wine, than in the past.
Statistics show that they usually select sweet white wines, but when choosing a red they prefer a Shiraz because it is typically a fruitier style, which is what millennial consumers prefer.
The Future of Shiraz
As a stand alone wine, or as a blend, Shiraz is set to continue its’ growth as consumers continue to indulge this easy drinking, rich, full bodied style of wine.
Wine enthusiasts will be watching with interest in the years to come, anticipating the ongoing Shiraz creations.
As one who drinks wine on a regular basis, my recommendation and suggest is that you try a Shiraz. I typically do no drink red wine, but I thouroughly enjoy a chilled glass of Shiraz.
If you have any questions of comments, I welcome them below.
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