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This red wine known by two names has a controversial history, Shiraz or Syrah, has gain international popularity due to its dark-skinned grapes and the intense strong flavors they create. The world’s 7th most grown grape should though not to be confused with its homonym, Shiraz, a Middle East town.

Shiraz is a French wine, with origins located in the Rhone region of the Southeastern France. It was actually born from a mixture between Mondeuse Blanche, a variety of white grape, and Dureza, a dark-skinned grape. But before that was a sure thing, many enologists and historians have looked deeper into history to find its true origins.

Shiraz is actually the name by which this kind of grapes are known in Australia, while in Europe, US, Argentina or Chile, the right name is Syrah. There are some legends which claim that the Syrah grape actually comes from the city Shiraz, and later on was brought in France. There are multiple variants to this legend, one stating that a certain Greek population, called Phocaeans, brought Shiraz in their colony, around today’s Marseilles.

The Shiraz in this story supposedly made its way towards Rhone, but there are no proofs to support this legend. The other legend says that the crusader Gaspard de Stérimberg, the builder of a chapel at Hermitage, brought the Shiraz in France, but neither this legend is sustained by actual proofs.

Speaking of Hermitage, the place where a chapel was built by Gaspard de Stérimberg, this place had a strong reputation of excellent and great wines. This is also the place where Syrah or Shiraz was made famous, to become today a popular international wine.

Australia’s Shiraz was brought by “the father of the Australian viticulture” in 1831, and it’s now established to be Australia’s most popular red grape, the most planted variety and the world’s second largest Shiraz platforms, after France.

With a very dark red color, so dark that it is often described as black, Shiraz/Syrah has a medium to full body, with rich and intense flavors of bell pepper, black cherries, blackberries, black pepper or dark chocolate.
Even it Shiraz is used to create other types of wine, like Rose, sparkling or Port wine, there are still four major kinds of Shiraz, corresponding to each of a geographical region’s characteristics:

  • The Varietal Syrah/Shiraz – the true Hermitage and Australian Shiraz
  • The blended Shiraz – it is blended with Viognier, a white wine grape specific to Rhone; this blended Shiraz is the emblem of Côte-Rôtie in northern Rhône
  • Shiraz-Cabernet, as it is known in Australia – an equal combination between Syrah/Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz with a minor quantity of Grenache (a red wine) and Mourvèdre (a dark red wine) - this Shiraz corresponds to southern Rhône

  • Shiraz goes well with various kinds of foods, from grilled meats to red meats, stews, vegetable recipes; it can be paired even with spicy cuisines like the Indian or the Mexican ones. This is the wine that necessitates the warmest temperature of all wines, and that is 64F degrees. Also, this specific wine doesn’t need a long time to reach its maturity, and experts even recommend drinking Shiraz while it’s young, preferably in its five first years after bottling.

    Tags: shiraz, wines, winery, wines, red wine

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