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.
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.
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.
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.