Types of Wine: Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah and Shiraz. The grapes might go by different names, but they’re actually the same fruit, making warm, welcoming wines. Find recipes to pair with this food-friendly red.

Recipes to Pair with Syrah and Shiraz

Syrah loves the ‘que. Try it with grilled burgers, ribs, or even grilled eggplant or portabella mushrooms. It also likes roasted duck, grilled sausages, chili, and cassoulet. If you crave red wines with fish, try Syrah with grilled tuna or salmon.

Syrah-friendly Recipe Collections:

Where Syrah and Shiraz Call Home

Syrah’s historical home is the Rhone region of France, where the grape makes spicy, rich, darkly delicious wines.

Syrah also makes tasty wines in Australia, where it goes by the name Shiraz. Australian versions are typically big, bold, and spicy with jammy fruit and aromas of leather and black fruit.

Syrah also excels in Washington state, where its muscular aspects are typically tempered by a touch of refreshing acidity, and in California, where styles vary. In general, you can expect California and Washington Syrah to be a little less powerful than big Australian versions.

Aromas: Raspberry, black or white pepper, blackberry, red or black currant, cassis, jam, smoke, leather, tar, coffee

Syrah? Shiraz? Which Is It, Already?

The history–or legend, as the case may be–of this grape’s origin has been a matter of some debate. It was long believed to be a native of Persia, hailing from the ancient town of Shiraz, in what is now Iran.

This explains why Australian winemakers have favored the name “Shiraz” over Syrah. Some North American winemakers have also chosen Shiraz, but it’s mostly an Australian term.

In recent years, however, scientists from the University of California at Davis and L’Ecole Nationale Superiore Agronomique de Montpellier applied DNA testing to the grapes, and discovered Syrah’s true birth place.

Turns out, Syrah’s a French grape; the variety’s parents are Mondeuse Blanc, a little-known relative of Mondeuse Noire (a variety known in the Loire) and the even lesser-known Dureza, indigenous to an area just west of the Rhone River in the northern Ardeche region of France.