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At a glance

Country of Origin: France
Region of Origin: Rhone
Typical Product: Red
Structure: Very Heavy
Climate: Warm - Hot, Dry
Soil Type: Sand/Gravel
Serving Temp: 60 - 65F
Ageability: 5 to 10
Blends: Cote du Rhone
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*: Shiraz


Unlike the other two dominant Red Rhone grapes (Grenache and Mourvedre), both DNA testing and anecdotal evidence place Syrah's birth place and rise squarely in the Rhone region of France.   Recent DNA testing by UC Davis has disproved the long held myth that Syrah's early origins were from the Shiraz region of Iran.  Grapes resembling Syrah were described by Roman historians in the 2nd and 3rd century AD although some variances are also mentioned ' resistance to cold for instance ' is a trait not shared by Syrah.  It's likely those early references are to Dureza, a virtually forgotten strain and believed to be an ancestor of Syrah along with Mondeuse Blanc.  When Syrah actually emerged as a grape of its own though is any ones guess.  Although also grown as a varietal, perhaps its greatest claim to fame is to enhance the body and provide additional character in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blends of Southern France.

In the early 1800s, Syrah was brought to Australia, the first of the new world regions to embrace it where its become the preeminent Red wine, usually know as Shiraz.  The first plantings on the West Coast were in the early 1970s and it remained a niche grape until the Rhone Rangers, an informal group of wine makers centered in the Paso Robles area, began promoting it.  They have had several incarnations but their initial work was well rewarded as Syrah is now one of the fastest growing reds on the West Coast.  US wines usually retain the French name of Syrah rather than being called Shiraz.

Syrah is prefers warm to hot climates although consistent heat will cause the fruit to ripen to quickly.  Gravelly or rocky soil is best, lowering the yield creating more intensity in the fruit.  The vine has little resistance to frost.  Syrah grapes are small, thick-skinned and very dark.

Syrah is one of the most flexible wines produced on the West Coast today.  In regions resembling the Rhone where it experiences more cooling, it's can be a full bodied, slightly tannic wine that can have a very distinctive, sometimes unappealing smell (variously described as barnyard or dirty socks).  Longer aging in oak, can remove the unappealing odor and has the potential to produce a wine of great complexity and balance.  In hotter areas like the California Shenandoah Valley AVA, Syrah tends to be lighter and softer with a more fruit forward flavor, similar to their cousins of Shiraz cousins of Australia in character.
* used in California

Show Me Wineries That Are Selling This Wine With Expanded Listings On

(Please click on the Winery name for more information)

Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
Byington Winery
2007  $22.00  Nelson Vineyard 
Silver Mountain
2007  $28.00   
2009  $28.00   
Wood Family
2007  $24.00  Madden Ranch 
Leal Vineyards
2007  $38.00  Estate 
Idle Hour Winery
2012  $32.00  Winemaker's Reserve 
Idle Hour Winery
2012  $32.00   
2008  $30.00  Santa Lucia Highlands 
Eberle Winery
2010  $18.00  Rose of Syrah 
Eberle Winery
2008  $18.00  Up Shiraz 
Eberle Winery
2009  $24.00   
Deaver Vineyards
2007  $22.00   
Cru Winery
2008  $14.00  Yosemite View 
Callaway Vineyard
2008  $28.00  Winemaker's Reserve 
2008  $60.00   
Dunning Vineyards
2008  $35.00  Private Reserve 
Thomas Coyne Winery
2005  $14.00   
Les Chenes
2008  $26.00  Estate 
Les Chenes
2009  $27.00   
Fenestra Winery
2007  $20.00  Estate 
Bent Creek Winery
2008  $25.00   
Tanis Vineyards
2007  $24.00   
Dobra Zemlja Winery
2008  $26.00   
Karmere Vineyards & Winery
2008  $19.49  Empress Drew Syrah 
Karmere Vineyards & Winery
  $21.35  Empress Rachel Syrah  
2009  $29.00  Ta-Da Syrah, Estate 
2007  $32.00   
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