Before we dive into secrets of Syrah wine, a brief introduction to this particular variety.
Syrah is pretty much a synonym for a dark, full-bodied red wine, with its dark fruit flavor varying from savory black olive to sweet blueberry. Winemakers often blend it with varieties such as Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, or even the richer Mourvedre, to make it taste more complete.
A popular grape across both the New and the Old World, there are approximately 460,000 acres of Syrah worldwide, predominantly spread in the following main regions of growth:
- Chile -15,000 acres
- Italy – 17,000 acres
- United States – 23,000 acres
- South Africa – 25,000 acres
- Argentina – 32,000 acres
- Spain – 49,000 acres
- Australia – 105,000 acres
- France – 169,000 acres
Old World Syrah (Europe) Vs. Syrah from the New World
Syrah wine from Europe contains more herbaceous-earthy aromas and higher levels of acidity compared with Syrah coming from the other parts of the world. The so-called new world Syrah wines (South America, Africa, US and Australia) contain plenty of spice and typically are more fruit oriented.
However, those are some general differences, and there are also some notable differences dependant on the exact region of origin, the surrounding climate in the region of production, and the bottling and ageing process.
Many different factors affect Syrah from grape to wine, and past the obvious (eg, the heat and the climate) there are also more subtle differences which can affect Syrah to create wildly varying tastes even between vineyards such as the soil quality (the minerals which comprise the soil composition) and many factors in the growing and bottling process
5 Amazing Facts about Syrah Wine
- The name Syrah is derived from the word ”Syracuse” – a small city on the island of Sicily. Some 400 years before Christ it was a powerful city under the rule of ancient Greeks.
- The most expensive Syrah comes from an area known as Hermitage. The area is celebrated for its blackberry aromas and wonderful floras.
- Petite Sirah is a genetic offspring of Peloursin and Syrah and does not stand for little Syrah. It is an entirely different variety that is also known as Durif.
- It is common among winegrowers to say that Syrah likes a view. They say so because the best ones grow on top of hills where there is a lack of good soil. That way there is less production, but the grapes that are produced are way more concentrated.
- Syrah is high on tanning and has a thick skin. Because of the winemakers often cold soak the grapes. Cold soaking can go for days and if needed for weeks. That way the winemakers increase the fruitiness in it while simultaneously lowering the herbaceous flavors and tannin.
Syrah and Food Pairing
Thanks to its full-bodied taste, it is for the best to pair it with bold foods. You can opt for all sorts of foods, from barbecue to a blue cheeseburger. The secret to a great food pairing is in bringing out subtle distinctions within the wine.
A sip of Syrah wine means that first, you get a punch of flavor that will awaken your senses and an aftertaste that is hard to forget. The great thing is that Syrah is one name with several faces, as each region where it is grown brings something different, something that adds another layer to its personality. All in all a fantastic wine that deserves the attention of every wine lover in the world.
We can break down food pairing for Syrah into two main types, those from colder climates and those from warmer climates. Syrah from colder climates (such as the Northern Rhône) will typically be lighter with less oak ageing, tasting slightly tarter with more ‘fruity’ flavors. We’d suggest pairing colder climate Syrah with a slightly more delicate food pairing such as grilled lamb. Greek style influences (such as shawarma or gyros) are an excellent opportunity for pairing.
For Syrah from warmer climates (Spain, Argentina, Australia, South Africa), experiment with more bold flavors such as spiced or even barbecued pork. Rich fruit flavors (eg, plum duck) are also a good way to bring out the best in both the food and the Syrah wine.