So what’s in a name? When it comes to Syrah and Shiraz, it seems not a whole lot! Both Syrah and Shiraz come from the same dark, thick-skinned grape (offspring of the Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche varities). The difference? Local naming conventions hailing from where the grapes are grown. Yes, it’s true vino detectives! The same vines sunning themselves in France’s Rhone Valley as Syrah are moonlighting in Australia under the name Shiraz. It’s a vineyard double life of vintage proportions.
While the grapes may be the same, the soil, the climate, and the conditions are not, and the naming conventions have come to denote not only the region, but a specific style. While both offer a complex but easy to drink wine good for everyday backyard BBQs to an elegant steak, Shiraz has come to denote an approachable but bright and boldly fruit-driven wine with chocolate notes, while Syrah represents a spicier, earthier, complex palate.
Adding to the mix (and the mystery), is Petite Sirah, who is a distant relative of Syrah (or Shiraz, mate). Petite Sirah, commonly referred to as the Durif grape, is cross between Syrah and Peloursin. Jammy, inky and intense with pepper overtones, Petite Sirah offers a fuller flavor but shorter mouth life making it a great blending wine.
So what is it tonight, my fellow vino fanatics? Syrah, Shiraz or Sirah? Take your pick at our Que Syrah, Sirah, Shiraz Thursday Night Tasting 6/23, and enjoy a five wine flight with apps for $18/person.