Two weeks ago, I wrote about Grenache and in particular Grenache-based blends. In many of these blends, Syrah plays a supporting role, helping to beef up the wine’s mid-palate and add structural elements to Grenache’s rather open-knit texture. So what happens when the roles are reversed, you ask? Well maybe you didn’t ask but seeing what happens when Syrah takes the lead can be a fascinating exercise in wine blending. Syrah is so much more assertive than Grenache, for example, that while a dollop of Syrah in a Grenache-based wine can have a profound affect, the reverse is rarely true.

Australia is arguably the king of Syrah-based blends, using the classic blending grapes of Syrah and Mourvedre, but also experimenting with Cabernet, for example, as well as the classic Cote Rôtie blend that marries Syrah with a dollop of Viognier.  It is interesting actually to see this practice, one that can lighten the power of Syrah a bit while boosting aromatic intensity and complexity gaining strength in Australia while it fades from use in the Northern Rhone.

Photo courtesy tncountryfan via Flickr/CC

Click Here to See Syrah-based Blends Tasting Notes