in color, and a rather lush, full-bodied red wine with conflicting
flavors of blueberry and an animal-like aroma and flavor. Bacon
fat, smoky and earthy are used also to describe this grape no matter
where it is grown.
It is very fussy about yields and when appropriately
pruned will make a powerful wine. A little less pruning makes a
dramatic difference in the wine causing it to become much lighter
and losing a lot of its character in the process.
and Syrah (it labeled Shiraz) are now almost synonymous. Its finest
red wines come from this one grape. As with life, Australians seem
to try and outdo each other with this grape as many are as big a
wine as is imaginable. Syrah from here takes a turn seldom seen
elsewhere with the use of new oak and for an appreciable amount
of time. So, along with the typical smoke, bacon, currant and earth
flavors are the sweet vanilla components and spiciness of oak. Unique
for sure and very popular. Conversely, Syrah also accounts for many
of Australia's inexpensive and everyday offerings when grown under
higher yields and lesser areas. While these versions are no match
for the big boys, they still account for the country's best values.
popular with both winemakers and the consumer where it has enjoyed
incredible growth, especially in Santa Barbara where many of the
finest examples are made. Added to the typical smoky and earthy
components is an engaging ripe plum and cranberry amalgam that causes
it to be compared to its Northern Rhone brethren. Napa and Sonoma
have made their share of examples, but few growers are willing to
sacrifice their Cabernet cash cow for the superb, but admittedly
less popular, Syrah.
Northern Rhone villages of Côte Rotie and Hermitage are considered
the holy grail of Syrah. Cornas is a close second and St. Joseph
and worthy contender. The best are very big wines with enough smoke
to start a three alarm fire and aging potential for decades. At
times the tannin levels can get a little out of balance, but generally
the Northern Rhone produces the worlds best examples of this grape.
Syrah plays a relatively small role in the Southern Rhone and always
as a supporting player with the more highly regarded Grenache in
Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas.
few experimenters have played with it, almost exclusively in Tuscany
and with great success, but it has a way to go to compete with the
other French favorites, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The few stand
alone from top producers can be compared to the best from California,
France and Australia.
with Australia, a very popular red grape and is also similarly labeled
Shiraz. Produces some of this country's best red wine. Normally
not as dense and imposing or with as much oak as the Australian
version, but still delivering the heady components of the grape.
has made impressive inroads with the grape and may establish its
best reputation with it.
is the only state to even come close to comparing with California.
While gaining in popularity, it still plays a distant third to Cabernet
Sauvignon and Merlot.