Shiraz / Syrah

Many people get confused between the differences between Syrah and Shiraz. There is no difference because they are coming from the same grape. The only difference between them is how they are produced, generally speaking, stylistically.

Syrah’s home is up in the northern Rhône Valley. Particularly in the two sub-regions of Côte Rôtie (‘roasted slope’) and Hermitage. Here Syrah is known for its beautiful texturalness on the palate as well as these beautiful aromas of red plums, mulberries, boysenberries, and cherries, as well as these lovely violets and lavender flavors, coming through, as well.

Generally speaking Syrah, or other ‘Syrah’ wines, being produced anywhere else in the world, be it California, Australia, New Zealand, they are all producing wines if they are calling them ‘Syrah’, in this more floral, fruit-forward and elegant style of it. Shiraz, on the other hand, is what they call it down in Australia and in a few other places around the world, as well.

Shiraz is going to be a lot more oaky, a lot more toasty, a lot more of a ‘manly wine’. This grape variety is going to be aged in American oak and quite heavily toasted American oak, as well and this will give the resulting wines quite a rich, powerful and spicy note. So, as we can see, we do have those two completely and almost polarizing, styles of red wine with a more feminine and floral take that you’d get from the northern Rhône Valley, and then the more hearty, and oaky, take that you’d get from a Shiraz in Australia.

So, if you love that beautiful floral note then it’s a Syrah. But if you like that big, chunky, meaty style of red wine then a Shiraz is your go-to.

Photo credit: Lisa Bodde