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California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like , , , and in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. and continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state.
Syrah is one of the darkest and thickest-skinned varieties, producing wines with intense color, flavors of blueberry, blackberry and boysenberry, and high tannin. Depending on the climate in which it is grown and the winemaking techniques used, Syrah (known as Shiraz in ) can come in a wide range of styles. Regardless of style, use of heavy oak is common and the highest quality wines are suitable for long-term ageing.
The best Old-World Syrah comes from the , where the variety is at its coolest limit for growth. Sites with south-facing slopes are exposed to more sun and produce the highest quality wines with medium body and flavors of berry, hints of pepper and mint, and notes of olive, bacon, meat, and leather with age. and are the most famous of these sites, and producers such as , , and make some of the world’s best wines from Syrah.
In the New World, Australia is the most famous region for high-quality wines from Shiraz. The warm climates of and produce full-bodied, intensely fruity wines displaying notes of earth and spice and developing leather with age. A leaner, more peppery style is made in cooler regions with the best examples coming from . Australian producers such as , , and have garnered international recognition for making world-class wines from Shiraz.
One cannot talk about New-World Syrah without recognizing the work of producers, most notably , , and , who have also gained international recognition for the quality of their wines from Syrah.
The delicate flavors of cooler climate Syrah from the Northern Rhône and make it an ideal pairing for dishes like lamb or eggplant. The bold flavors of warmer climate Shiraz from Australia pair well with barbeque pork and chicken, short ribs, and steak.
Collector Data For This Wine
- 2 bottles owned
- 2 collectors