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Syrah vs Shiraz: 30 great buys from South Africa

A blind tasting of 78 top South African examples of this well-loved, spicy variety proved both rewarding and revealing for Matt Walls, who found that styles fell into two distinct camps. Here he narrows it down to his top 30 picks from the savoury, Syrah-styled school

Consider how frustrating it must be as a winemaker to have the terroir to produce light, fresh, fragrant Syrah but being forced to call it Shiraz on the label. Sure, it’s the same grape, but the stylistic difference it implies is immense.

Andre Van Rensburg was the first South African winemaker to apply to use this synonym for his iconic Stellenzicht, Syrah 1994; prior to that, calling it Shiraz was the only option. Since then, more and more South African winemakers have been producing wines in a classic, Rhône-like Syrah style, as opposed to a traditional Australian Shiraz style.

Today, the quality is so convincing that you’d be mad to ignore them.


Matt Walls’ 30 top South African Syrah wines


See also: 

Californian premium Rhône-style reds

Cornas, Côte-Rôtie & Hermitage 2010: Panel tasting results

Santa Barbara County Syrah: Top wines to try

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