Which One Is It?
It’s a question people ponder while proudly announcing “it’s a Syrah” as the decanter hits the table. But what do you say when asked “what’s the difference between Syrah and Shiraz?”
First thing you need to know is the DNA of grape varietal that make Shiraz and Syrah is identical!
This leads to the question, is it simply language? In France (and most of the rest of the world) its called it Syrah and Australia its called Shiraz, perhaps the same as its "canard" in France and "duck" in Australia. Well, not exactly.
Imagine two identical twins, living on other sides of the world both using the same grapes given to them by their father to produce the best wine they can.
One lives in the Rhône wine region in southern France, speaks French, is elegant, medium bodied, silky, complex and refined. While his brother in Australia is in your face, big, spicy, bold and robust. Side by side, it can be hard to even imagine they are related. As the terroir sculpts their personalities, so too will it sculpt their wine.
Two wines from the same varietal, grown in very different earth over generations will develop increasingly different characteristics. You can find that in neighboring vineyards, and especially around the globe.
Over the last 10 years more Australia producers have been labeling Syrah on their bottles, and there are a couple of reasons for this.
- Marketing – it sounds good, it's a point of difference and a it's a bit trendy.
- International Sales – some believe it's easier to sell overseas using Syrah.
- Style – Australian shiraz is a big wine, so those making cooler-climate shirazes that might not fit the big-Aussie-red mould use Syrah to distinguish their wine.
If you love Syrah or Shiraz try the other, look for the similarities and the differences, establish what you like and what you don’t – like all wine tasting it’s a journey for you to enjoy.