Syrah - December 2010

Hearty Reds for Fall


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Syrah - December 2010 With the arrival of fall, it’s always fun to take a look at some of the heartier reds that have been hibernating through the warmer months. I get to taste a lot of wine, but I always look forward to the chances I get to taste Syrah. To me, Syrah is sort of the Riesling of red grapes: remarkably expressive of site. Syrah -- unlike some other, more popular I might add, varietal wines -- tends to reveal an expression of terroir almost anywhere it’s planted. While wines based on Cabernet, for example, tend to move towards a mean, Syrah seems to be much less tamable, much less prone to the mean.

I can’t tell you exactly why this is true, though the fact that Syrah tends to be savory and spicy in flavor profile, as opposed to purely fruity, has a lot to do with it. Even under less than ideal conditions, Syrah ripens to reveal complexity, depth and, with age, elegance that few grapes can match.  No wonder it’s planted round the world!

While I’d love to have a broader selection to share with you, I fall back today on a selection of North American and Australian examples of Syrah, or Shiraz as the case may be. I was frankly surprised at how well some of these wines showed!

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: marivilen
    564775 96

    I was really surprised my favorite Shiraz was not included in your article...Thorn-Clarke William Randell Shiraz/Barossa Valley ($49.99). This is an absolutely amazing Shiraz. I was not a fan of Shiraz at all - I drink mostly Cabernet - until I tried William I just can't get enough!!

    I was just curious if you've ever tried it and, if so, what you think of it!!

    Dec 02, 2010 at 2:11 PM

  • Snooth User: Sparky235
    529853 28

    My mouth is watering at these awesome Syrah's. Thanks for the great article!

    Dec 02, 2010 at 2:44 PM

  • Snooth User: LisaTillis
    221025 13

    I agree the 2008 Owen Roe Ex Umbris is an excellent Syrah and one of my favorites . . . but my favorite is Tensley's Colson Canyon Syrah . . . it is unbelievable!

    Dec 02, 2010 at 4:16 PM

  • I would like to put in a gentle plug for the Syrah's of New Zealand's Hawkes Bay. Wonderful elegance and contrast to the big boned Australians I grew up on.

    Dec 02, 2010 at 5:18 PM

  • The Zaca Mesa is outstanding and just made #29 on this years Wine Spectator's Top 100. I had it first at the Wine Merchant and Cafe in Los Olivos,Ca (from Sideway's Movie) and sent home a case. Just ordered more yesterday.
    Get it.

    Dec 02, 2010 at 6:15 PM

  • Snooth User: mariH
    635614 15

    just a 'peep' from sunny South Africa....Jacques Borman (winemaker/owner of note from Boschkloof Winery in Stellenbosch) still makes his wine with PASSION and the proof is in the tasting/drinking....his Syrah is yummie!!!

    Dec 03, 2010 at 2:57 AM

  • Snooth User: Don Mateo
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    632319 7

    Nice call on the expression from the terroir. I have always been undecided on Syrah, because everytime it tastes like a different varietal altogether. After thinking on it further, I realized that some of the other types of grapes from the same region tend toward similar notes.

    By the way, the 2009 harvest of Syrah was very healthy in Chile, and after tasting a few of the young barrels, it promises to be special.


    Dec 05, 2010 at 10:54 PM

  • Snooth User: WineIsYummy
    Hand of Snooth
    615722 242

    I agree that the DB Family Selection Shiraz is easy to appreciate! And yummy!

    Jun 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

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