Syrah (or Shiraz in Australia) is easy to grow and produces wines which are highly aromatic with full body and intense fruit. It is known as the "King of Grapes" in Australia. It has several different names related to the grapes origin.
The grape grows quite vigorously and develops a deep color. It requires mild winters and warm summers to fully ripen. The traditional flavors of the final wine is of dense red and dark berry, tar, pepper and spice. It is also commonly blended with cabernet sauvignon for a rich, full-bodied spicy red.
It is widely planted around the world, but seems most at home in Australia, Washington State and in the Rhone Valley of France.
Northern Rhone Valley of France - the home of this grape variety. It is the principal grape grown in this area. The wines here can vary from fresh, acidic and spicy to incredibly complex, dense tannic reds. Wines produced in this region are the Hermitage and Cornas.
Australia - produces the most popular form of this wine called Shiraz. It is the most planted red grape in this area. Australia has many older vines that produce grapes that are much fuller and riper. The final wine can be much more intense with the possibility of a chocolaty character and heavy spice. With additional oak aging the wines can produce a more exotic taste and expensive product.
California - also produces grapes from this variety and the largest number of vines are found in the Central Coast and Napa Valley.
Washington State - has produced some top notch wines with intense fruit and complexity in the Columbia Valley.
Other areas that grow the syrah grape are Argentina, Chili, Italy, and South Africa
*This wine pairs well with many foods as it can be
light and fruity and high in acidity when produced in Northern France.
The Crozes-Hermitage varietal pairs well with veal and pork chops.
*The fuller-bodied variety produced in Australia and California can easily handle being paired with lamb chops, leg of lamb, steaks and grilled meats.
*As with any wine, to truly appreciate it's taste and wine pairing ability you'e got to try it for yourself. Only then can you be sure that you have found your favorite type of red wine.