Welcome to Wine on Wednesday!  This Week’s Feature: Syrah

A glass of Italian Syrah wine from Sicily
A glass of Italian Syrah wine from Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 In last week’s installment of Wine On Wednesday, we learned more about Pinot Noir.  This week we focus on another red wine varietal : Syrah.  Syrah (pronounced SIR-RAH) can also be referred to as Shiraz, but both come from the same grape.  Australian and South African wines go by the name Shiraz. 

Syrah is one of the darkest colored wines of all of the red wine varietals, with a deep, rich purple tone.  Syrah is typically medium to full bodied  (see our Introduction to Wine on Wednesday for more information on terms like these), but in contrast to  Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah tends to have less tannin and a smoother flavor. 

While Syrah has a smooth, less tannic flavor, there is no mistaking the big, bold flavor of a Syrah..  Syrah is a very fruit forward wine, which means that rather than tasting the pucker of tannins, or the oak flavor at the first drink of a Syrah, you’ll taste the rich fruit flavors.  You’ll still taste those other flavors, but the fruit will typically be the highlight. 

Fruit notes you may find in a Syrah include black cherry, blackberry, and plum.  Other notes you may detect in a Syrah include chocolate, pepper, cloves, licorice, and smoked meats.  I know the idea of smoked meat might sound strange, but this basically gives a smoky flavor to the wine. 

Because of the bold flavor of Syrah,  it pairs well with bold foods and rich sauces.  Grilled meats and vegetables also pair well with Syrah because of the smoky, smoked meat flavor notes.  As with many other red wines, Syrah pairs well with red meat.  

The question remains: could this be the right wine for you? Syrah is a bold, fruit forward, sometimes smoky flavored varietal.  I really enjoy Syrah, but it was definitely a red wine I had to work my way up to.  While it can be less tannic than other red wines, it packs a flavor punch.  This is another great wine to pair with food when tasting, especially peppery foods or chocolate.  If you enjoy bolder wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel and are ready to take  your wine palette to the next level, I would suggest trying Syrah.  If you aren’t a fan of the rich flavors of the Cabernet or Zinfandel, Syrah may not be a good choice for you.


Here are a few of my favorite Syrah winemakers:

Lava Cap

Michael David 6th Sense Syrah

Columbia Crest

Wyndham Estate


I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Wine on Wednesday!  Stay tuned for next week’s installment!

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