Glossary

Syrah / Shiraz

Syrah / Shiraz

Pronounce it: sirrah / shih-raz

International celebrity

The northern Rhone is the traditional home of Syrah, where it is renowned in the wines of Hermitage, Cote-Rotie and Cornas. In the Southern Rhone it is blended with grapes such as Mourvedre and Grenache.

Round the world these wines have won many fans who have created their own versions. Some like to pay homage as in Charles Back's play on Cotes du Rhone with his 'Goats do roam' in South Africa.

Syrah is at the heart of Australia's most famous wine, Grange. It also appears in blends such as GSM (made with Grenache and Mourvedre also). Traditionally it was used in the New World to create fortified wines.

This is a grape variety that tempts winemakers and there are versions around the world.

Main characteristics

Colour: red; often very dark with bluish tinges when young

Body: medium to full bodied

Tastes: a wide range from blackcurrants and blueberries, to mocha, and black and white pepper. Often shows high alcohol

AKA: Syrah in France, and the Old World; Shiraz in the New World, except where NW producers want to make a statement about the style where they may prefer to use Syrah for more restrained wines

Often blended with: small amounts of the white grape Viognier. This increases the charm of the aromas, and also helps stablise the colour of the wine

Spotter's guide France's northern Rhone valley is the traditional home of Syrah, where it is renowned in the wines of Hermitage, Cote-Rotie and Cornas. In the Southern Rhone it is blended with grapes such as Mourvedre and Grenache

Keep or drink? There is plenty of great value Shiraz to drink now. However at the top end the wines can age for many years

Price range: £3.99 to £100+

Try it with

Steak supper for two or more
Roasted autumn vegetables with Lancashire cheese
Herbed pork fillet with roast vegetables