Syrah vs Shiraz

Syrah vs Shiraz – Are they the same? What exactly are the difference?  Doing a little research revealed that they are actually the same but the myths surrounding its origination provides for an interesting read.  Further investigation into the true origination of Syrah grapes through detailed analysis of the grapes, suggests that they come from the Rhône region of France.  Thus, for the purpose of this discussion, we will leave the Syrah vs Shiraz discussion simple:

  • Syrah – originates (as many wines) from Rhône region in France
  • Shiraz – Syrah that was brought to Australia from France but winemakers routinely called it “Shiraz”

While some still believe the myths of Syrah’s beginning, the development of Syrah on a world-wine scale was largely driven by the city of Hermitage within the Rhône Valley of France.  While many other regions in the area were producing blends, Hermitage was focused on developing single varietal Syrah and helped ensure its rise to fame.   Through its reputation of developing excellent wines during the 18th and 19th century, famed Scotsman James Busby (deemed the Father of Australian viticulture), collected Syrah wine grapes during an excursion to the Hermitage area and transported the wine grapes back to his home in Australia.  Upon planting the Syrah grapes he discovered how remarkable the vines performed in the Australian climate – paving the way towards Syrah in Australia.  The development of the name Shiraz may have been the local dialect of Australia or could have been related to the previous idea that the capital of the Persian empire, Shiraz, was the first to develop the grapes.  Irrespective, the ease of growth led to Shiraz being the predominant wine grape being grown in Australia.    Syrah vs Shiraz Wine Profile

Syrah (or Shiraz) is considered one of the darkest wines available and produces a full-bodied consistency, highlighted by spicy notes, dark fruits, and tobacco.  As with many wines, regional characteristics can largely influence the profile of the wine leading to medium-to-high tannins depending on the climate of origin.  “Old-world” Syrah found in France and Italy possess higher acidity with more herbaceous notes (tobacco, peppercorn) as compared to fruit. “New-world” Syrah is more commonly categorized as coming from Australia, US, and South America presents with higher spice notes and fruit characteristics.  The more aggressive “up-front” nature of the wine is frequently controlled with other wines (by blending together) to provide a longer, smoother finish.  A common blend utilizes varieties of Syrah in addition to Grenache and Mourvedre to create the Côtes du Rhône Blend, also known as “GSM”.

Tasting Syrah vs Shiraz is best when using a “narrow-bowl” or Syrah glass.  Due to the already intense nature of the wine, the narrow rim collects less aroma, preventing an overpowering perception of the wine. Storage temperature should be consistent with normal cellar temperatures of 50-55°F.  Due to the high-tannins it has very good aging potential (potentially 10-15 years).

See the following detailed assessment of Sirah vs Shiraz wines that we have tried:

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