|Terraced vineyards of Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley|
Savory. Blessed with acid and tannin strengths that encourage bottle aging, having opaque skins that could tolerate warmer climates, Syrah today is one of those grapes that can reflect where it was nurtured, thereby altering its Old World character. Tasting of savory dark fruits, bramble and olive, often described as gamy or of smoked meats, Syrah in warmer climates can introduce a riper, jammy fruit and occasional notes dark of spices and roasted earth. It has proven to be quite adaptable, finding success with regional and international consumers far beyond its noble origins in the continental Rhone.
|Groomed vineyards of McLaren Vale, South Australia|
Australia today dominates the value to quality Syrah marketplace with fruit-driven brands like Layer Cake, d'Arenberg Stump Jump, and behemoths Rosemount and Penfolds. From the heat of the Barossa Valley to the cooler coastal vineyards of the Great Southern, smaller Aussie brands like the widely available Paringa Shiraz, are consistent best buys, offering cost-conscious consumers bright Syrah character for pennies. Across its 65 winegrowing regions, nurturing almost 100 thousand acres of what is known down under as Shiraz, this long-tenured Aussie variety is today accounting for about a third of a thirsty nation's total wine production.
|Distinctive grapeleaf of Syrah/Shiraz|
Global acreage of the Rhone grape has continued to increase(lots of domestic Syrah planted in years that straddle the millennium), yet sales domestically remain modest, annually losing share to other popular millennial growth varieties (rose,malbec??). Syrah's challenge is today a varietal identity at these more modest retail pricepoints. Mass produced, it consistently offers wines that are typically ordinary, non-distinctive, a lowest common denominator kind of full-bodied wine where savory is lost along with memorable personality.
Noble Syrah needs the right environment in which to shine, such as demanded by the continental Rhone Valley. She is not ordinary. With attention in the vineyard, situated in draining soils, and nurtured with patient crafting in the cellars, Syrah shows all her many charms. Her allure can be displayed at festive regional events, like the annual Hospice du Rhone, Paso Robles; her noble honor supported by the championing of the Rhone Rangers. She can maintain her varietal mystery, her potency that can hold blended wines seamlessly, and remains faithful to feed our need to find really good value memorable Syrah. Always a perfect lady, for many in the global consumer marketplace, Syrah's value is simply known as Shiraz.
|New World vineyards of South Africa|