A Wine Cellar guide to Syrah/Shiraz
A titan of the northern Rhône, Syrah is a black grape variety that produces serious, intensely flavoured wines that are loaded with dark fruit, pepper and spice. In the southern Rhône, this noble variety is often blended with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan or Cinsaut, whilst in the northern Rhône, and particularly the Côte-Rôtie, the quality of Syrah reaches new summits with broad-shouldered, long-ageing, earthy wines. South Africa and Australia also produce world-class Syrah, some of them showing leather, dark chocolate or pronounced minerality.
Generally speaking, wines that are labelled 'Syrah' are more restrained and Old World in style, whilst those labelled ‘Shiraz’ tend to be riper, higher in alcohol and fuller bodied.