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Shiraz - Syrah

by Staff Writer - B. Scottenberg | December 15, 2010

This specific type of red wine is known by two names, both Shiraz and Syrah. If the wine is produced in Australia or South Africa, it is known as Shiraz. If it comes from France, Argentina, Chile or the United States, it is called Syrah.

Shiraz/Syrah grapes are a very dark red in color and sometimes the grapes are so dark that they are often described as black. The Shiraz/Syrah grape is called Syrah in the United States, France and many other countries. Even though Shiraz and Syrah are both names for the same red wine grape, this grape is not the same grape as Petit Sirah, which is a different red wine grape grown mostly in California. In Australia, the grape is called Shiraz, where it is considered to be the finest red wine grown there. Shiraz is the most widely planted red grape in Australia. Forty percent of all wine produced in Australia is Shiraz, making it the country's most popular wine. Australian Shiraz is a wine that is meant to be drunk while it is young, preferably within the first five years after bottling. Now that Shiraz has become a well-known wine, some wineries in the United States who are making an "Australian style of wine" with this grape are calling their wines Shiraz as well. 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. There is a town in the Middle East which is named Shiraz that has made wine for centuries, bit that is not the town where the Shiraz grape came from.

Shiraz/Syrah wines display firm tannins that are typically ripe and smooth and not abrasive like younger red wines can be. The Shiraz/Syrah wine is a medium to full body wine. The Shiraz/Syrah grapes can produce a full-flavored wine that has the taste of spicy blackberries and plums. The flavors described for Shiraz/Syrah are peppery, chocolate, licorice, and mocha. Shiraz/Syrah plants have large leaves and very dark-skinned fruit that generally produces high-tannin, rather acid wines. Some Shiraz/Syrah wines can be held for ten years or longer under perfect conditions. Shiraz/Syrah can be affected by growing temperatures, where warmer climates bring out the more mellow flavors of plum, while cooler temperatures spice up the wine. Shiraz/Syrah can be made into a fruity style, which many sweet wine drinkers enjoy.

Shiraz/Syrah goes very well with beef and other hearty foods. It also goes well with Indian, Mexican, and other spicy foods. Shiraz/Syrah is great for grilled meats or vegetables, wild game, richly flavored red meats, beef stew and meat lover's pizza. Serve Shiraz/Syrah wine slightly chilled, in a large glass at about 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour Shiraz/Syrah into large glasses so you can enjoy the fragrance of the wine. Shiraz/Syrah can be drunk immediately or it can also be aged for many years depending on how tannic it is. Shiraz/Syrah is excellent as both a sweet wine and a dry wine.

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