Under the Influence of Shiraz
If you can't come to the winelands at the moment, why can't the winelands come to you? We continue our home wine guides, so you can pair your favourite Shiraz with some home wine edutainment.
First the question: is it Shiraz or Syrah? What’s the difference?
Well these are two names for exactly the same grape varietal.The term Syrah is the preferred French name for this grape, as it originated in the Rhône Valley in France. The Northern Rhône, to be more precise. The Southern Rhône is more renowned for Grenache, but it is quite common to see these two grapes in the same blend - a Rhône style blend.
The term Shiraz is more often linked to "New World" wines. Think of your Australian and South African Shiraz wines. The main difference between Shiraz and Syrah is often linked to the style of the wines then. The French Syrah wines have a more elegant and refined tannin structure, with more red fruits. Shiraz, grown in the warmer climates of the "New World", can show off more full bodied and dark fruit and spicy characters. More intensity.
Image courtesy of winefolly.com
If a South African producer has labelled theirs as a Syrah then you know it is styled as a more elegant wine. If the label read Shiraz you have perhaps been given a clue that it is made in more of a "New World" style. Let's explore some more about the Shiraz flavour profile and when to enjoy and suggest it to your Guests:
Here is a short Masterclass about the Shiraz grape, presented by one of our favourite Shiraz producers in South Africa - MAN Family Wines (and winemaker Tyrrell Myburgh).
Finally, we would like to take you into one of the most incredible wine wards (like a mini region) in South Africa for Shiraz, the Voor Perdeberg. This region skirts the Agter Paarl and Swartland regions, all renowned for incredible Shiraz. If you see granite outcrops and wheat fields, interspersed by vineyard, you know you are in this South African Shiraz country.