As we are wineing, err, winding down and saying goodbye to 2015, what better way than with some great wine? We are featuring the Syrah grape this week with a duo of great examples from here and over the pond. For those who might have wondered, Shiraz and Syrah is actually the same grape, with the former typically being from Australia or South Africa, and the latter from Europe and the U.S. There isn’t a strict adherence to this though, with many winemakers choosing the name depending on the style, regardless of location. European, Rhone Valley-styled Syrah is typically more elegant, tannic, smokey and restrained whereas Australian styled Shiraz is typically more fruit-forward, peppery instead of smokey, and higher in alcohol.
2013 Boom Boom Syrah, Washington, U.S. – Charles Smith Wines
A powerful ‘bomb’ of rich fruit, dark cherry, hints of tobacco and herb on the nose. It’s a great everyday red for someone that likes ‘juicy and jammy’. It’s 100% Syrah that drinks more like a typical younger Shiraz, but without the peppery note.
2013 Domaine Tournon “Mathilda” Shiraz, Victoria, Australia – Michel Chapoutier Wines
Yes, you read that correctly. THE Michel Chapoutier, from the famous Rhone Valley family winery and distribution business, is the winemaker of this fantastic wine. The 2013 vintage has the deep fruit and slight peppery-ness you’d expect from Australian terrior, but Chapoutier has extended the maceration to extract more elegant tannins than you’d normally expect, which also makes this wine suitable for aging.
Did you know? The inverse indentation on the bottom of a wine bottle is called a “punt”. It historically existed as a function of glass-blowing technique, but now that bottles are machine-made their existence is mainly just a matter of tradition rather than function (The exception being sparkling wines under pressure, where the punt keeps the CO-2 distributed more evenly). The fact that a lot of more expensive wines have a deeper punt and typically heavier glass is purely marketing and gives no indication as to the true quality of the wine itself.