Syrah and Shiraz are the same variety. A lazy generalisation would be to suggest that if a wine is labelled Syrah then it will be more towards earthy, baked fruit, leather, peppery spice and liquorice. While Shiraz is a bit fruitier and plumper with a slightly Porty texture and dark sweet (ripe not sugary) berry flavours. Restrained elegant and subtle are words rarely bandied about when Syrah or Shiraz are discussed. They are most often robust, strongly flavoured and big.
Syrah from Hermitage in the Northern Rhône was one of France’s most famous wines in the 18th and 19th centuries when the wines could command higher prices than any wine except first growth Bordeaux. Indeed the wines of Bordeaux sometimes had extra oomph from the addition of some Syrah until this was stopped by the authorities.
In the Northern Rhône Syrah is the dominant variety (sometimes a small quantity of Viognier is blended in). Some of the most famous wines in the world come from this area, Côte-Rôtie (which translates as Roasted Slope, (photo below)), Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Joseph are all mostly planted with Syrah and are perhaps the finest examples of cooler climate Syrah in the world. It is an area which has fairly recently started to accept wine tourism and is hugely worth a visit. The view of Côte-Rôtie is to a wine enthusiast what The Old Course is to a golfer.
In the Southern Rhône Syrah is very often part of the blend and less the star of the show. This is partly to do with the high temperatures of the Southern Rhône, Syrah doesn't like it hot ma'am! It brings structure, a savoury, sometimes meaty character to the often more sweetly fruity grapes grown here and it also importantly adds colour. The superstars of the Southern Rhône are Chateauneuf-du-Pape with tremendous value for money coming from Cairanne and Séguret.
Shiraz is widely planted and we have a great range from round the world, with examples from Portugal, Terra d'Alter Telhas Tinto, Spain, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and, of course, Australia. Outside France, Australia is the most famous producer of Shiraz and this can include Sparkling Wines such as Pauletts Trillians Sparkling Red.
Food Matches for Syrah
Due to the big hearty taste of Shiraz you will want strongly flavoured foods to accompany them. Low to mid-price offerings are great with a barbeque or just by the fire with friends. The higher priced wines from this great and noble grape are perfect for Sunday Roasts or roasts of any kind, the pepperyness will enhance a good steak au poivre and is fantastic with lamb loin. Hearty full flavoured Stews and Hearty Syrah are an ideal match. If meat is not on the agenda then garlicky stuffed peppers and lentil burgers are two cracking combinations.
Discover our Collection of Syrah and Shiraz Wines
Discover our range of delicious, food friendly Syrah/Shiraz based wines from its home in the Northern Rhône Valley in France to Australia and Elsewhere. and please note that if you're looking for a particular wine, you can reach out to our team who'll be happy to help. Alternatively you can explore our Wine Discovery Guide or Wine Collections for some inspiration.