Syrah — A Guide to the Basics

In France, Syrah reaches its most extensive heights in the Northern Rhône, defining the red wines of Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie (where it’s often combined with a bit of the white grape Viognier), and St.-Joseph, and contributing spice and savoriness to the blends of the Southern Rhône. It also does very well in California, Washington State (the Rocks AVA is especially noteworthy, however the higher Walla Valley is likewise fantastic– look for standout Syrah from Cayuse and Horsepower for delicious examples), Israel, and beyond.

What is Syrah Wine?
Syrah is a red wine that’s produced from the grape of the very same name. Syrah is also an essential gamer in the world of rosé: Examples from the Rhône Valley, Provence, Languedoc, and beyond are hugely popular with consumers around the world.

Where Does Syrah Wine Come From?
Syrah is most famously grown and produced in the Rhône Valley of France, where a few of the most venerated wines of the northern part of the region are developed on a base of Syrah, or are made up of the grape range entirely. Hermitage is one of the best expressions of the grape, as is Côte-Rôtie. St,-Joseph and Cornas are also essential sources of outstanding Syrah-based red wines, in addition to Crozes-Hermitage. In the Southern Rhône, though Grenache plays a dominant role there, Syrah is still a key part: It’s one of the 13 allowed ranges in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a major player in lots of Côtes du Rhône mixes. In Provence, it’s crucial for both reds and rosés, and in the Languedoc and Roussillon it can not (and must not!) be ignored.

In Australia, Shiraz was responsible for introducing an entire generation of customers to the red wines of the Land Down Under, most especially with its fruit-forward and easy-drinking variations that were frequently produced in enormous quantities. By the mid- to late-1990s, they were more or less ubiquitous in the United States … often in bottles with vibrant, lovable, or otherwise stylized animals on them Some of the biggest Shiraz-based wines in the world are likewise produced there, and painting the whole world of Australian Shiraz with the very same proverbial brush is deeply unreliable; producers like Two Hands, Hentley Farm, Torbreck, Henschke, Penfolds, Clarendon Hills, and more all produce Shiraz-based white wines that can go toe-to-toe with the best of France and beyond.

In California, a full-throttle design of Syrah has been popular in places like Paso Robles and Santa Barbara for some time now, though there are likewise more tasty and restrained ones produced in the Golden State. In Washington, Syrah has found a happy home in The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA, as well as other appellations.

Provided its ability to do well in warmer environments (though it produces remarkable red wines in less-hot ones, too), it must come as not a surprise that it is progressively excellent in Israel. In South Africa, it shines in both cooler and warmer micro-climates, and in South America, it does well in both Chile and Argentina.

Why Should You Drink Syrah Wine?
Syrah offers profoundly scrumptious wine-drinking experiences throughout the whole stylistic spectrum: Whether you prefer more fruit-forward and generous red wines or tasty, spicy, and meaty ones– or both!– Syrah (or Shiraz) will please.

It also is among those grape ranges that is highly conscious temperature, yet likewise rather versatile. Whether it’s grown in a more moderate environment or a warmer one (and it truly prospers in toastier locations), Syrah has a terrific ability to express the land in which its roots are sunk and the character of the vintage.

Fans of fuller red white wines are likely to discover a good deal to enjoy about Syrah and Shiraz. Its tannic structure is especially noticable, it has the capability to accomplish generous levels of alcohol, and its balance between fruit and spice makes it an ideal partner for heartier foods like sausage, video game meats, and even saucy or spice-rubbed barbecue.

What Does Syrah Taste Like?
Syrah tends to display fruit on the darker end of the spectrum, with brambly berries, combined mountain berries, and plums as typical tasting notes. In cooler places and vintages, red fruit can also be found. Savory notes of broken peppercorns, leather, and bacon are also typical, as are tips of flowers like violets.

Offered its thicker skin, Syrah’s tannins frequently enable it to age with significant durability, depending upon where it’s grown and the style in which it’s vinified. And while it’s not unusual to discover bottles of Syrah or Shiraz with alcohol levels pushing 15% or higher, there are also excellent choices with more moderate levels of alcohol. The very best of them all find a balance between spice and tasty notes and generous ripe fruit.

It might seem counterproductive, specifically given the tannic structure of Syrah, but serving it at somewhat less than space temperature is ideal, as warm Syrah can frequently come off as boozy and unbalanced—- a fast 15-minute rest in the fridge ought to help with that. And if your bottle of Syrah is a bit too tannic when you open it, decanting will help, as will energetic swirling in a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon glass. And as always, fat and protein will counterbalance the tannic structure of the white wine, enabling its fruit to shine more brilliantly.

5 Great Syrah Wines
There are many great Syrah wines on the market today. These manufacturers, noted alphabetically, are an ideal way to start exploring all that Syrah needs to provide.
Shiraz (or Syrah) grapes

Gérard Bertrand

Bretrand is a prolific manufacturer, with noteworthy reds, whites, and rosés in his portfolio. The 2018 Château l’Hospitalet La Clape Grand Vin, a mix of 60% Syrah with 30% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre, is Demeter-certified biodynamic and excellent. Ripe notes of hoisin sauce and peppercorn-crusted venison are signed up with by tips of kirsch and crushed boysenberries. The spice, fruit, and savory tones here are beautifully stabilized.

Minus Tide

From their base in Philo, California, Minus Tide has actually been gaining real traction over the previous few years. No wonder: Their wines, which range from Carignan rosé to Chardonnay and beyond, are thoughtful and detailed. 2 current-release single-vineyard Syrahs, both from Mendocino Ridge, embody this. The 2019 Valenti Vineyard bottling is pure peppercorn on the nose which precedes a bright, energetic palate of red fruit and more peppercorns, with sticking around notes similar to blood oranges and iron through the balanced, mouthwatering surface. The 2019 Perli Vineyard is more perfumed, with flowers and crushed blueberries on the nose setting the phase for flavors of cherries, huckleberries, and a grace note of jasmine that discovers outstanding tension along with tips of dry-aged beef.

Mira and Herman Story

Mira is extremely related to for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but the 2017 Hyde Vineyard Syrah reveals how well they work with Napa Valley Syrah, too. For an even bigger Syrah, the massive, muscular 2019 Herman Story Nuts & Bolts Syrah is, as fans of “This Is Spinal Tap” may state, turned up to 11.


Standout Israeli manufacturer Tulip is based in Kfar Tikvah, or Village of Hope in the Galilee, and employs people with developmental impairments from the village in the production of their soulful red wines. This single-vineyard gem is a mouthwatering, major red whose notes of leather, iron, treated black olives, and broke white peppercorn are stabilized by blackberries and dark plums.

Viña Montes

Montes produces a large range of red wines in Chile. The 2019 “Folly” is an abundant, generous, high-altitude Syrah from the producer’s Apalta vineyard in the appellation of the same name in the Colchagua Valley. It’s luxurious and velvety yet structured with tannins that assure years of advancement in the bottle, with flavors of spice-rubbed pork ribs, candied violets, lavender, peppercorn, olives, blueberries, black licorice, and cassis.

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