Diving into Shiraz vs Syrah on International Shiraz Day!
Wine can be hugely intimidating. There are thousands of grape varieties and to make matters even more confusing, some wines are named after the place they come from, rather than the actual grape!
A classic example of this is Syrah (sih-rah) and Shiraz (shuh-raz). Did you know that these are actually two red wine styles made from the same grape?
Today is International Shiraz Day, so what better time than to delve into the similarities and differences between Syrah and Shiraz!
All about Syrah
Syrah is the traditional name for this grape variety.
It was first made thousands of years ago in ancient Roman times! Recent studies have shown that Syrah was actually created from the spontaneous reproduction of Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza – grape varieties that are local to the Rhône region in France, where some of the most famous Syrah wines are produced.
Confusingly, the French will label their Syrah wines based on where they are grown (known as the ‘appellation’ in French) and with complete disregard for the grape variety used. In classic French fashion, if you know, you know! You will often see French wines called Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and Cornas – world-renowned Rhône appellations that produce 100% Syrah wines.
This means that stylistically, wines labelled as Syrah from other countries around the world usually refer to Old World expression and are often grown in cooler, more moderate climates exhibiting a lighter body and finer tannin structure.
Syrah wines usually showcase pepper, spice and savoury oak character, with lovely floral perfume and bright red and black fruits.
All about Shiraz
Shiraz is exactly the same grape variety as Syrah – it’s just a different style of wine!
After Syrah was brought to Australia in the 19th century, the name was changed to Shiraz.
Most experts believe this name change was due to a spelling error that was never corrected and before you know it, Shiraz had taken root in Australia (literally!) as one of their most famous red wines.
The initial plantings of Shiraz in Australia were in some very warm wine regions like the Barossa and so Shiraz became known as full-bodied, riper, fruit-forward styles of wine.
This has meant that wines labelled Shiraz often refer to this New World style of wine, exhibiting these bigger, bolder characters.
Shiraz wines are usually fruit-forward, with ripe blue and blackberries, plum and cherries. Often these wines are aged in new French or American oak producing dark chocolate, mocha and toasty notes.
Did you know?
Did you know that Syrah/Shiraz is the sixth most planted variety in the world? It is a hugely popular wine and can be quite polarising, with many drinkers either loving a big Aussie Shiraz or a more refined Old World Syrah.
Many New World producers in cooler climate areas around Australia (and other countries such as USA, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile) are leaning into a growing trend to produce lighter, more elegant Rhône styles and consequently labelling them Syrah.
Fogarty Wine Group Shiraz from around Australia
From the cool climate Pyrenees in Victoria and Frankland River in the Great Southern, to the warmer climate of Margaret River and the hotter Perth Hills in Western Australia, explore our delicious range of world-class Australian Shiraz.
“Very deep, bright red/purple colour. Spicy, peppery, fresh earth and red fruit aromas of some complexity, especially considering its youth. The wine is medium to full-bodied and soft-textured, with no shortage of tannin, but the texture is supple and drying, the fine-grained powery tannins augmenting the savoury flavours. There is abundant fruit within but the overall style is savoury, food friendly and very stylish. Very long aftertaste. Great value.” – 94 Points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review 2022
Most like: Old World Syrah
“Hand picked from a single block on the estate's 1972 plantings in central Wilyabrup, matured for 12 months in new and used French oak. This is as powerful as any of its breed, with the blackest of black fruits and tannins normally the confines of cabernet sauvignon, French oak lost in the wash.”- 96 Points, James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion
Most like: Old World Syrah
“Terrific shiraz from this excellent vineyard in an excellent year. Engages from the start with scents of spicy infused plum and cherry with a little vanilla pod concentration. The palate is seamlessly structured with find powdery tannins sitting within powerful fruit. It’s such a poised wine that builds effortlessly through the palate to a long finish.” – 96 Points, Ray Jordan, Top 100 Reds 2021
Most like: New World Shiraz
“The vibrancy of this wine highlights the Frankland River region's expression of Shiraz. Ripeness and flavour enhanced by the warm summer days, as well as perfume and freshness from the cooling afternoon and evening sea-breezes.” – Emma Gillespie, Winemaker
Most like: Somewhere in between!
Shop all Fogarty Wine Group Shiraz wines here.