Syrah is a quintessentially Mediterranean-climate variety, a big cropper resistant to pests and diseases, producing dark, inky, aromatic reds with black fruit flavours and peppery, spicy characteristics.

syrah shiraz

It is the great red grape of the northern Rhône where it reaches its apogee in the deep-hued, muscular, long-lived wines of Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. It is a component of southern Rhône reds and the fastest growing grape in Franc’s Languedoc region, where it has been introduced as an improving variety.

New World

As Shiraz, it is Australia‘s most important red variety, where it forms the backbone of Grange, Australia’s most famous red, and is grown with increasing confidence in South Africa and Argentina.

SEE: Syrah and Shiraz Grapes – Climatic, Winery Influence, Most important regions – WSET Level 2 | Top Australian Cabernet Shiraz blends | The Syrah/Shiraz quiz – test your knowledge | Value Rhône reds: 10 under £18 | Best New World Syrah for Rhône lovers

What does it taste like?

Syrah produces dark red wines whose purest incarnation in the northern Rhône produces a wine with memorable aromas which can be smoky, floral, peppery, minty or spicy and often linked to a kind of medicinal or creosote-like character. Cool climates, whether northern Rhône or Victoria and parts of Western Australia, bring out the mint, pepperiness and the spice in the Syrah, while the warmer it gets the more it changes from raspberry to blackberry, becoming chocolatey and, with age, tarry and gamey.

Food matching with Syrah/Shiraz: Roasted Octopus Salad with Chilli Mayonnaise – Recipe by Michel Roux Jr | Rolled pig’s head – Recipe | Leg of Lamb Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Figs, Walnuts and Grapes | Slow cooked Provençale beef recipe