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
On the flip side, however, Syrah does have one thing going for it. It’s transparent. What, and you thought it was a red wine! No, it’s still red (though Syrah rosés are also delicious), but it has the ability to change itself into something new almost everywhere that it’s planted. Syrah can be all savory and lean, with high acid and spicy mineral notes, but bring the vines to another location, somewhere warm and fertile, for example, and you can end up with a glass that simply oozes crushed black raspberries topped with black pepper. And for all the vineyards that lay between these two extremes, there are violets and sage, loganberries and blueberries, earth, cinnamon and a myriad spices waiting to be discovered.
So take a look at some of the great Syrah-based blends. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t find the one that rings your bell right away. Your Syrah is out there somewhere. Keep searching and let us know what you find.