History and Origin
Determined from DNA typing, Syrah is the offspring of Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche which are two grapes that simply are not quite as renown as Syrah. The origins of Syrah are not absolutely known and there are quite a few different versions, though most are lacking in one major area or another. One legend though seems to be somewhat plausible. This one has it that this wine, then called Scyras, came from Shiraz, a Persian town. This was the same pronunciation used in Australia in the 1830s when it was brought over from Europe by James Busby. Depending on the version, Syrah has been around since 600 BC or the third century AD.
Syrah can thrive in fairly dynamic variety of growing conditions. The warmer weather brings out fruit flavors while cooler weather brings out the spice.
Shiraz is a very common synonym that Syrah is known by. Shiraz is the dominant name in Australia while Syrah is the standard in Europe. There are also Petite Syrah and Gros Syrah, which are actually both clones. It is also sometimes called Antourenein Noir, Balsamina, Candive, Entournerein, Hignin Noir, Marsanne Noir, Schiras, Sirac, Syrac, and Serine. It was previously referred to as Hermitage (or Hermitage rouge) in Australia but due to French rules this name is somewhat protected.
The Syrah grape is thick skinned and dark which leads to darker colors. Syrah wines are generally intense and have a dark purple to black color.
Aromas that can typically be found in a Syrah are black pepper, licorice, grass, black currant, and blackberry.
Syrah is a very full-bodied wine with flavors such as berries, violets, pepper, chocolate, espresso, currant, smoke, and sometimes will have mineral notes as well. Depending on the climate of the region in which it is cultivated, it can be either a more mellow, fruity or spicy and full bodied wine.
Good With The Following Foods
This wine goes well with beef and spicy foods such as Indian and Mexican. Cheeses like goat, parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, and blue cheese go well with Syrah. Chili, venison, lamb, and even cheeseburgers also pair nicely with Syrah.
A proper serving temperature for Syrah would be about 64-65F which is one of the highest serving temps for wine.