International Syrah Day: How is Shiraz different to Syrah?

International Syrah Day: How is Shiraz different to Syrah?

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.

Fun fact: 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.

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.

2022 Deep Woods Estate Shiraz et al

"The addition of Malbec gives it that x-factor, the underpants on the outside, superhero style. Lowly high notes of blue fruits with a floral violet lift. It's spicy and at the same time refreshing, smooth with silky tannins. Massively drinkable. I absolutely love this wine; it has become very popular and is so well received."

– Deep Woods Estate Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy

Most like: New World Shiraz

2019 Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Shiraz

“Hand-picked, 90% whole bunches, wild ferment, matured for 9 months in old, large-format French oak. This kind of vinification should be more widespread in Margaret River, where the shiraz fruit doesn't respond as well to heavy doses of oak as it does in South Australia. It's a different beast here, responding to a soft hand, and this wine is testament to the goods that such an attitude can yield. Spicy, silky and plump: this is an elegant wine and it has been treated as such.”

94 points, Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023

Most like: New World Shiraz

2020 Millbrook Single Vineyard Shiraz

"This is one of an increasing number of stunning shiraz emerging from Frankland River and redefining this region for a distinctive style of shiraz. It’s a wild and crazy ride through black fruits, licorice, dark plum and chocolate with a slightly ferrous ironstone core adding to its complexity. An exciting wine with a great future."

95 points, Ray Jordan Wine Guide 2023

Most like: Somewhere in between!

2019 Dalwhinnie Mesa 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, The Real Review 2022

Most like: Old World Syrah

Shop all of our Shiraz wines here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

  • Welcome
  • Are you old enough to
    enjoy fine wine?

I'm 18+ years old

By entering the website your are agreeing that
you are legal age for alcoholic drinks