What’s the difference between Shiraz and Syrah?

Published by Tamara Harrison - 28th Nov 2019

Hi Angels, you would have noticed on the Naked Wines site that there are Syrah wines and there are Shiraz wines. Did you know that these are the two names for the same grape? Here’s winemaker Cathy Howard from Boots & All to elaborate.

The two names are used around the world for the same grape variety. The French call it Syrah, Australians mostly call it shiraz, although that has been changing over the past few years with more Australian Shiraz wines being labelled as Syrah. In New Zealand it is called Syrah, in the US it is called both, and in South Africa, it’s mostly called Shiraz. So why are the two names used to describe the wine made from this grape?

Outside of France, you could use the name, Syrah or Shiraz, as a useful guide to the STYLE of the wine in the bottle.

A typical shiraz style that you would be familiar with is the dark, full-bodied, rich blackberry and chocolate flavours and firmer tannin structure of Shiraz wines from the Barossa and McLaren Vale. This is probably the way most of the world sees Australian Shiraz, a big generous wine made from grapes grown in a warm climate. BUT the reality in Australia is that there are so many different styles of shiraz made here, more than in any other country because we grow Shiraz in a huge range of climatic and soil conditions.

A typical Syrah style is modeled on the French wines from the Northern Rhone. They are lighter, more medium-bodied than full-bodied, with spicy aromas, red berry flavours, finer tannins, and generally lower alcohol. This style is typically found in regions with cooler climates.

Our Boots & All Geographe Shiraz is actually grown in a friend’s vineyard in Donnybrook, which has warmer temperatures during Summer. However, it is a much milder climate in Summer compared to the Barossa Valley. From a wine style point of view, and the flavours that it has, it really does have a boot in each shiraz/syrah camp. It does have the richer, riper blueberry flavours which are more like blackberries in a warm Summer, but it also has a savouriness, with mocha rather than the full-on dark chocolate flavours, and it is definitely a medium-bodied, rather than full-bodied wine.

Maybe we should be calling our Shiraz a Syrah, what do you think?



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