Monday, April 7, 2014

Shiraz or Syrah

At the bottom of the page are my tasting notes for a Syrah that I got wrong. I guessed Pinotage, but somehow feel I should have guessed a French wine. I'm doing Rhone next week as part of my WSET Advanced, so hope it will get better.

How to tell a Syrah (old-world) from a Shiraz (new-world). They're both packed with black fruit and spice. Shiraz normally has a higher alcohol content (due to hotter climate), tastes sweeter, although that's just the fruit, and the spice is sweeter, with cinnamon and clove. Syrah (same grape) originates in the Rhone valley (but is now a term used in e.g. Chile where they are trying to develop the same complexity). Syrah has more peppery and even leathery notes depending how old it is. If you drink the two side by side Syrah is sophisticated and Shiraz is the fun cousin. Aussie Shiraz feels like a Ribena-berry has smacked you in the face, but Shiraz is more discerning, more savoury, likes to take its time in your mouth.

I think where I got lost is this is a vin de pays, which means there will have been less strict rules applied, and although the savoury flavours were developed, it was a little unbalanced, and had a colour purple - which I had assumed was new-world, but was due to it being so young.

All good though. It's going down nicely.

Syrah Vin de Pays, IGP, L'Ardeche, Rhone, 2012, 12.5%
Appearance: Medium, ruby almost purple, clear
Nose: Clean, med,legs, developing
Aromas: blackcurrant, plum
Mouth: high alcohol, med intensity,  high acidity, med+ tannins, dry
Flavours: blackcurrant,  cherry, stewed plums, pepper, herbaceous
Quality: Short length, good, inexpensive

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