You say Syrah, I say Shiraz, is there anything more to differentiate between these two than just spelling and pronunciation?
Well I suppose the answer to that question is both yes and no.
Wines labelled as either are produced using the exact same grape variety, but depending on the climate in which the grapes were grown these wines can taste very different indeed.
To start out we should take a look at the Rhone valley where Syrah has planted here for many centuries, in fact some of the earliest mentions of it date back to Roman times.
It is here in the northern Rhone ACs of Hermitage, Côte Rotie, Cornas, St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage that Syrah produces the dense, long-lived, savoury and peppery wines that typify the style.
The Ferraton Crozes-Hermitage la Matiniere (€ 17.99) is a great example of this style, a beautifully balanced lighter style of Syrah in which elegance and very pure fruit combine, resulting in a silky smooth red that works well with a wide range of dishes from grilled red meats to roast poultry.
When we come to talk about Shiraz, generally that means we are looking at a wine from Australia.
The grape variety, along with many others was introduced to the country by James Busby in 1831 and since that time the spelling and pronunciation has evolved to give us Shiraz.
In the hotter drier climates of Australia, Shiraz produces wines that tend to be rich and full-bodied with intense dark bramble fruit along relatively higher alcohol and sometimes even some confected notes.
Produced in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia, the Longview Yakka Shiraz (€ 18.99) is dark purple in colour, with aromas of black cherries, white pepper and bakingspices exhibiting flavours of dark chocolate and coffee. It has toasty oak characters, perfectly balanced tannin and a long clean finish.
This is the perfect red to match with full-flavoured dishes such as BBQ meats or a spicy Lamb Tagine.