The Syrah grape, as it is known in the Rhône Valley, is the classic variety of the dark, spicy tannic northern Rhône reds (Hermitage, Cornas, Côte Rôtie etc) where it thrives on granite soils. In the southern Rhône appellations (Châteauneuf du Pape, Vacqueyras, Gigondas etc) its raw strength is softened by the addition of Grenache and a host of lesser-known regional varieties that play a supporting role.
Typically, Syrah shows a very deep almost black colour and has concentrated aromas of dark berry fruits, liquorice, peppers, game and subtle vanillin oak and firm tannins. The extract and tough tannins found in youthful Syrah allow a long and graceful ageing potential.
In Australia, where it is more frequently referred to as the Shiraz grape, it has adapted successfully to every wine region, coping well with heat to give more sweet flavours and offers earlier drinking but no less intensity. The experience of Australian growers who have succeeded with the variety in difficult conditions has encouraged many new plantings in similar conditions in Sicily, Argentina and New Zealand’s North Island.