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Syrah / Shiraz

Here is an international black grape variety that has made its home in both the Old World and the New and thrives in moderate to hot climates. Often referred to as ‘Syrah’ when produced in the traditional Old World Rhône style and ‘Shiraz’ indicating a richer and more fruit-forward Ozzie style; but this rule of thumb has its exceptions. A black grape that makes hearty medium/full bodied reds, displaying fresh black fruit and a signature cracked black pepper spice. Riper styles meanwhile are often smoother, with very ripe and even cooked black fruit aromas and flavours (blackberry, black cherry, black plum), liquorice and black olive tapenade complexity.

In France, Northern Rhône is the buzz word. Powerful and deeply coloured Syrah styles are made from the world-renowned names of Cornas, Côte Rôtie, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. Complex and tannic wines, developing meaty, leathery notes with age. Further South in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Gérard Bertrand’s L’Hospitalitas offers a flagship Syrah-Mourvèdre blend with startling power and cool mineral tension.

Australian ‘Shiraz’ style wines come in an exciting array of expressions, from the Barossa to the Eden Valley, often displaying a characteristic eucalyptus note. From Chris Ringland’s thrilling high alcohol 10-year-olds, to Henschke’s stunning large-format bottlings hailing from the Eden Valley, this is a spine-tingling world to explore. In the US, California and Washington wines offer up a treat. Cult winery Sine Qua Non steals the limelight with legendary single-varietal reds in addition to a tiny production of 100 % Syrah dry rosé named ‘Pagan Poetry’. South African producer Boekenhoutskloof blends Syrah with Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier in the fabulously rich ‘Chocolate Block’ range. Syrah shows its versatility yet further from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand to the Judean Hills of Israel.

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