Syrah vs Shiraz: Know the Difference

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Syrah vs Shiraz: Know the Difference

We can thank James Busby, orig­i­nally from Scot­land, for the Aus­tralian Shiraz.

Back in 1831, Busby brought a cut­ting from a Syrah vine home to Aus­tralia from a trip to France. This small act not only cre­ated Shi­raz, but started wine cul­ture in Aus­tralia entirely.

Now, you might be think­ing that ‘Shi­raz’ is just an accented pro­nun­ci­a­tion of Syrah. Or a mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tion entirely. You might be think­ing that ‘Shi­raz’ was all a mistake.

Not the case. Shi­raz was called that as a strate­gic move to gen­er­ate more inter­est in Aus­tralian wine. They wanted to gen­er­ate some buzz by hav­ing some­thing new to offer to the wine world.

But Dave, isn’t that a trick? It’s not new… it’s Syrah!”

Sure, it’s a Syrah grape orig­i­nally. But, when grapes are grown in a dif­fer­ent cli­mate, and in dif­fer­ent soil, every­thing can change. Even in Aus­tralia, dif­fer­ent regions can give you a very dif­fer­ent end result.

  • Barossa Val­ley Shi­raz is con­sid­ered richer and more con­cen­trated than most.
  • Cen­tral and South­ern Vic­to­rian Shi­raz vari­eties most closely resem­ble the Syrah wines of France. They lean towards the more pep­pery side of the palate.
  • New South Wales’ Hunter Val­ley Shi­raz tends to have a taste described as “earthy and velvety.”
  • Coastal Ade­laide Shi­raz is per­haps the sweet­est and minti­est of them all.

Sure, it started out as a Syrah grape, but now it’s become so much more. So different.

And as a strat­egy to gen­er­ate inter­est, it worked. Aur­tralian wine holds top posi­tions in imported wine rankings.


Is Syrah the Same as Shiraz?



French Syrah is usu­ally spicy, pep­pery, gamey, and smoky. You might taste leather and tar flavours in a glass of Syrah.

Shriaz, on the other hand, tends to be richer, with riper and jam­mier fruit flavours. Plus, there’s more alco­hol in Shiraz.

While Shi­raz is con­sid­ered to be a younger drink­ing wine than cousin Syrah, that doesn’t make it worse off or a lesser wine by any means. There are a lot of pre­mium Aus­tralian Shiraz’s that I believe are just as good, or even bet­ter on occa­sion, then a French Syrah.

If you’re used to Syrah, you might want to try Shi­raz with smoked bar­be­cue foods. Try spicy sausages, pork, lamb, and even dif­fer­ent types of game.

Or for some­thing very dif­fer­ent, try a sparkling Shi­raz with a rich pate.


About Dave Keighron

Dave Keighron has writ­ten 63 posts in this blog.

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