You Say Shiraz and I Say Syrah… #WorldWineTravel

World Wine Travel Writers Dig into Victoria Reds
This month, our World Wine Travel writers are exploring the red wines from the state of Victoria. Due east of South Australia, Melbourne is the big city located in the region. Victoria has a wide variety of growing conditions thanks to ocean influence that extends well into the countryside. Along with well-known Shiraz, regions like Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula are cool enough to grown high quality Pinot Noir. Take a look farther down in this post for a variety of experiences with Victoria red wines from my fellow World Wine Travel writers!

Inspiration for “You say Shiraz and I say Syrah”

Wines from Victoria are not particularly well represented in Minnesota, I only had a few bottles to choose from. I did find a bottle labeled with the typical Shiraz and another from (cool) Yarra Valley labeled Syrah. Intrigued, I decided to compare the two to see if there was anything significant in the choice of grape name. Having a little fun with Shiraz and Syrah, I’m reminded of a classic song from the 1930’s, one version shown in the Youtube video above.

Same grape, but different name and different style

Shiraz vs. Syrah
Syrah and Shiraz are both wines made from the same grape – Syrah. Syrah is an adaptable grape and is planted in quantity in France, Australia, South Africa, Chile, the US and elsewhere. The grape is known as Syrah in most places except Australia where it’s typically called Shiraz. Due to Australia’s generally warm climate, Shiraz wines are traditionally high in alcohol with bold dark fruit flavors, high but soft tannins and supported by generous oak. Occasionally, a Syrah based wine from outside Australia is called Shiraz, probably as a nod to this wine style. What has your experience been? Does Shiraz always show as a different style of wine as compared to a wine with Syrah on the label?

MWC Shiraz is exactly as expected with the Shiraz name

McPherson Wine Company MWC Shiraz Mourvedre 2018, Victoria ($18 locally at France 44) 14.5% abv
95% Shiraz 5% Mourvedre. McPherson Wine Company is proudly the least well-known of Australia’s top twenty wineries. They pride themselves in taking the care of a small winery with the economies of scale of a large operation.
Eye: Medium ruby
Nose: Medium plus intensity aromas of rich, ripe blueberries, blackberries, black plum, cooked figs, leather, vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper. Nose is a bit hot.
Mouth: Dry, medium plus acidity, medium satiny tannins, full body, high alcohol, medium plus intensity flavors, medium plus finish. Flavors follow the nose, with the oak a little more noticeable on the palate though very well integrated.
Observations: Classic Australian Shiraz albeit with a bit more restraint than usual in the use of oak. The wine is aged in neutral oak, but still acquires a nice touch of vanilla and cinnamon.

Unfortunately, the Jamsheed Syrah was flawed

Jamsheed “Harem La Syrah” Yarra Valley, Victoria 2017 ($29 locally at France 44) abv 13.5%
Listed on the label as being sourced from a single vineyard, with a large percentage of whole cluster grapes, fermented with indigenous yeast. The wine was aged in a blend of new and old large French barrels. Given its Yarra Valley source and winemaking, one might expect this wine to differ from a typical Shiraz labeled wine.
Eye: Cloudy medium ruby
Nose: Medium plus intensity aromas of bright tart red fruit – cranberries, raspberries, underripe strawberries. The wine has a vinegary nose, likely from volatile acidity.
Mouth: Dry, high tart acidity, medium tannins, medium body, medium alcohol, medium finish. Medium plus intensity flavors echo the nose with bright crunchy red fruit but overshadowed by tart vinegar.
Observations: I rarely report on a wine I wouldn’t recommend, but my purpose today is to compare Victoria wines labeled Syrah and Shiraz. The winemaker’s intent is clear with bright red fruit, medium body and alcohol; unfortunately, something went wrong somewhere between Jamsheed and Minneapolis.

World Wine Travel Writers Explore Red Wines from Victoria
Make sure you take a few minutes to link over to other posts from our World Wine Travel writers, then join our conversation on Twitter. We chat for an hour on Saturday, April 23 from 10-11am CDT at the hashtag #WorldWineTravel.

8 Responses to “You Say Shiraz and I Say Syrah… #WorldWineTravel”
  1. culinarycam says:

    Sorry to hear that your Yarra wine was flawed. That’s a bummer. But thank YOU for hosting and getting me to look at a new-to-me region.

  2. robincgc says:

    I loved that you tried to do a comparison of the styles. Bravo to you to be able to see past the VA to the winemaker’s intent with the wine. Thank you for leading us on this journey to Victoria!

  3. Too bad the Syrah was flawed and you couldn’t do a fair comparison. But kudos for the attempt and for hosting this month.

  4. Too bad the Syrah was flawed and you couldn’t do a complete comparison. Kudos though on the attempt and thanks for hosting this month.

  5. Lynn says:

    Ah, clever to include the video! Betting I’d like the McPherson Shiraz being a less oak person. Curious about the Jamsheed- do you think the VA came about as a defect in this particular bottle (e.g. cork taint), or is this the result of winemaking?

  6. wendyklik says:

    So sad to get a wine that is corked. I love the idea behind your experiment Jeff, I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff at Food Wine Click! writes “You Say Shiraz and I Say Syrah…“ […]

  2. […] Jeff at Food Wine Click! writes “You Say Shiraz and I Say Syrah…” […]

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