Syrah/Shiraz, Part 2
Catch-up from Part 1: Syrah made its way to Australia in the 1800s and they
quickly found that Syrah was easy to grow and made exceptional wine; especially blended with one or more varietals such a Viognier, a white Rhône grape.
On a visit to Oz a few years ago, I visited 100 year old Shiraz vineyards in the Barossa area of South Australia. Old vines that are meticulously taken care of always impress! I also discovered a very nice Shiraz/Viognier blend by the Yalumba Winery that can be found easily in the US.
|Barossa Shiraz, 100 yr old vines (dormant, not dead!)|
The US got its first taste of Syrah in the 1970s from an infamous group of viticulturalists called the Rhône Rangers – look them up, they’re great!
Syrah is grown in Washington State in the Naches Heights and Walla Walla AVAs. In California, Syrah is the most planted Rhône varietal but does best in Mediterranean climates. One of these regions is Paso Robles.
Syrah is great as a stand alone. It can also be blended well with others as I mentioned in Part 1 (Pinot Noir extender) or with white Rhônes. It is also used in large production brands as a Cabernet Sauvignon blender. But I think it does best with other Rhône varietals. My favorite, is the up-and-coming GSM – Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre!
This is one of my favorite varietals to grow as it is adaptable, yet challenging!
As you can see, no matter what you call it, this is a varietal with staying power that can be produced all over the world! The identity crisis for this fine varietal can easily be solved when we all know it by its two rightful names.
It’s no wonder PasoWine.com has featured it as the February varietal of the month!