The Shiraz or Syrah grape is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious, high-quality dark-skinned grape varieties globally, delivering a phenomenal depth of flavour, colour, and intensity. Indigenous to the Rhone Valley in southeasterly France, today it sows its roots in wine regions worldwide with particular prominence in Australia, where it’s known as Shiraz.
A dual-natured grape, it can adapt to a range of climates, nevertheless, its character often mirrors the environment where it grows. In moderate climates like the northern Rhone, it produces medium to full-bodied wines with high tannins, pronounced blackberry, mint and black pepper notes with a savoury, meaty character. In hotter climates like Barossa Valley in Australia, Syrah/Shiraz grapes transmute the sun's energy into wines drenched in fruit character, often bursting with flavours of ripe blackberry, dark chocolate, and licorice, with sweet, supple tannins.
The Shiraz grapes can manifest as a noble single varietal wine or a blended wine, often crafted with Grenache and Mourvedre, known as a GSM blend. The iconic blend named Cote Rotie sees Syrah combined with a white variety, Viognier.
The versatility extends to winemaking techniques as well. Common practices are oak aging, often in French barriques, and whole bunch fermentation, which includes the grape stems in the process, contributing extra tannin and spice to the final blend.
The lasting ingestion of Shiraz wine is known for its ability to age gracefully, developing complex secondary and tertiary flavours over time in the bottle. However, it can also be enjoyed young, especially the versions with a fruit-forward profile.
Regarded as one of the greatest wines in the world by many, the Shiraz/Syrah grape has indeed established a distinct place within the global viticulture tapestry.
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