Shiraz/Syrah

Possibly the most successful variety worldwide, Syrah or Shiraz (they are the same) produces world-class wines in many corners of the globe. Recent DNA mapping shows it almost certainly originates in France, rather than Shiraz in ancient Persia or Syracuse in Sicily, both popular misconceptions. Usually dark, muscular stuff with a streak of black pepper character and a damson-fruited core, it’s a grape that lasts well too, taking on complexity with age. Australian Shiraz can have a eucalyptus note, or a mintiness on the palate. You’ll encounter great wines from the Rhône Valley, Languedoc, South Africa, Chile and California in particular, but Syrah is well-travelled and top quality. Petite Sirah is a different grape.

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