What is syrah and how does it taste?

Though better known as shiraz, it was under the name syrah that this French red wine varietal first emerged onto the wine scene. A glass of syrah is all about fruit flavors: red or black raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and currants. Syrah grown in warmer climates like Australia can be downright decadent, offering super ripe fruit flavors along with baking spice notes and a chocolate finish. Syrah grown in cooler climates are more savory, offering not only fresher fruit notes but also hints of black pepper, black olives, or smoked meat, with a scent of violets in the finish.

Where is syrah grown?

Syrah first came to prominence upon the hillsides of the Northern Rhone in France. Outstanding examples are also grown in Australia, most notably in the McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley. In recent years, coastal California and Washington state have emerged as stellar sites for syrah. And select plots in Chile are showing promise.

Some popular syrah producers:
What food pairs well with syrah?

Syrah demands meat. Cool climate, lighter versions of syrah will shine with chicken or pork. Lush, fruit-driven and fuller-bodied Aussie shiraz wines? Think big, upfront flavors and spice. BBQ, grilled meats prepared with a spicy marinade, smoked brisket - all demand the bold flavors of a shiraz. And a fine, mature Northern Rhone syrah demands a fine cut of beef or game: Wagyu beef, duck, grouse, goose, pheasant, wild boar, or venison.