(Shiraz pronunciation: shir-AHZ)
If you see Shiraz on wine label it is almost certainly a product of Australia, South Africa or the United States. Vintners in most other countries will call it Syrah.
Shiraz is a dark skinned red wine grape genetically identical to the Syrah grape. While the grapes maybe the same, the style differences between the wines are distinctive enough that Shiraz is considered a distinct variety. The grape’s origin in the old world can be traced back to the northern Rhône region of France. In more modern times the Shiraz name took its place on the world stage with the introduction of the grape in 1832 in the Barossa Valley of Australia.
Brought by an immigrant named James Busby, who took the vine clippings from Europe, today Shiraz is the most planted variety in Australia with more than 100,000 acres under vine. The wine is typically full-bodied and known for fruit flavors of blueberry, blackcurrant and black cherries with undertones of chocolate and black pepper. The wine is sometimes blended with Viognier to add apricot tones, or with Grenache and Mourvèdre, which you will find designated on the label as GSM.
Shiraz ages well in the bottle, so set some aside and enjoy later. Cheers!
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