The hit-parade of deliciously juicy reds continues, this time, looking at the Syrah varietal. Whether you know it as Syrah or as Shiraz (an inexplicable-yet-now-ubiquitous moniker in some parts of the world), it’s still one of the shining stars in the divine firmament that is Wine. Heck, even if you mispronounce the name, any wine-folk worth their Sauvignon Blanc would know what you were looking for. “Syrah,” with a spiritual home set firmly in France, is a softer, plusher expression of this elegant grape. When you head to South Africa–or more commonly–Australia, you run into “Shiraz,” an intense, bold and expressive iteration of the juice. The differences are so stark that many winemakers in New World countries will adopt the name pronunciation that’s more suitable, whether it be their silky Syrah or superb Shiraz.
Donkey & Goat, 2010, El Dorado: The Donkey & Goat Thirteen Series of wines takes its cues from the Southern Rhone, blending up to 13 of the grapes used in those timeless blends. This go-around, they blended five of those varietals, not the least of which is 21% Syrah (the other grapes are Grenache, Mouvedre, Counoise and Cinsault). Expect complexity after each sip.
Benoit Roseau Syrah de Rosette, 2011: Produced naturally from grapes from leading producers, this is a great Syrah with bright, smooth fruit. Easy-drinking but not boring. A great vino for hearty autumn meals.
Quinta do Monte d’Oiro “Lybra” Syrah (see above): Named after the zodiac sign at the time of harvest, this Syrah displays traits hearkening to that sign’s strengths: equilibrium and harmony. The delicate balance between terroir, fruit and varietal makes this a delicious wine to share with friends.