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Que Syrah Syrah


Three wine postings in a row, I know, but this is a good subject to try and cover in one go. The Argentinean Shiraz I wrote about yesterday may have been a disaster, but the Syrah/Shiraz grape otherwise continues to gather steam in new climates worldwide.

iJamming! Pubber Baby Jebus alerted me to the story in last Sunday’s Observer on New Zealand Syrah. Specifically, writes Tim Atkins,

“Hawke’s Bay Syrah is one of the most exciting wine styles I’ve tasted in the past five years. There may only be 1,500 acres of Syrah in New Zealand, compared with nearly 10,000 of Pinot Noir, but in my view the two varieties have equal potential for greatness.

If you love thickly flavoured Australian Shiraz from the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale, you won’t like the stuff from Hawke’s Bay. But if you’re a fan of the more delicate, white-pepper flavours of the northern Rhône, then you’re in for a treat.”

A similar story is being told in California, where Pinot Noir has also been riding high but where, unlike the cooler New Zealand, much of the vine-growing climate (especially north of San Francisco) is too warm for that thin-skinned grape. According to James Laube in the March 31 Wine Spectator,

“Syrah is performing well in a wide range of styles from a braod range of appellations. Just about every region in which the grape is grown in California has yielded at least a few treasures. There are sleek, muscular, peppery versions that mimic Hermitage; earthy, beefy renderings that are reminiscent of Gigondas; and occasionally a Syrah-Grenache-Mourvèdre blend that resembles a Châteauneuf du Pape.You can also come across fruit-driven wines that are comparable to Australian Shiraz. It’s hard to ask for more.”

More? I haven’t even got started.

(Join the iJamming! Wine Cellar Pub Thread here.)

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