What is a Syrah?

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Have you ever wondered what a Syrah wine is? Or whether it bears any similarity to a Shiraz or a Petite Sirah? Let us walk you through a brief history of Syrah so you can become a well-versed wine enthusiast.

Syrah is one of the darkest red wines you can find today. It is full-bodied and has a medium to high level of tannins, depending on the terroir it is grown in. While flavours vary in Syrah wines, those that are often noted include dark berries, pepper, chocolate and espresso. In our Vanessa Vineyard 2012 Syrah, notes of black fruits, leather, white pepper, and chocolate fill the mouth over silky tannins.

Interestingly, Syrah and Shiraz are synonymous to each other. Both names are used for a particular type of red wine grape that originated in France. Shiraz is the term of choice for Australian winemakers who have the second largest acreage of Syrah grapes outside of France. Almost all of the other regions that grow these grapes label their wine as Syrah. Petite Sirah, on the other hand, is not the same as a Syrah but is, in fact, related. It is the offspring of Syrah and another rare grape varietal called Peloursin.

In the 18th century, Syrah became prominent in a village named Hermitage, which is situated in the northern region of the Rhône Valley of France. Today, still, some of the most expensive Syrah wines in the world are from the Hermitage region. There are now 460,000 acres of Syrah grapes planted worldwide with France and Australia hosting more than half of this acreage. This has placed Syrah in the top ten wine grapes grown worldwide.

Syrah has also gained prominence in British Columbia, Canada, where you can find our very own Vanessa Vineyard 2012 Syrah. As often stated by wine experts, “Syrah likes a view”, meaning that Syrah is often planted towards the top of hills where the soil is thinner and vines can produce less, but more concentrated, grapes. The hillside location of Vanessa Vineyard is perfect for this grape to grow and look out over the expansive Similkameen Valley.

Find our previous blog post on wine pairing HERE to find out what pairs well with a bold and full-bodied Syrah.



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