Today we’re taking an in-depth look at shiraz. We chat about shiraz vs syrah, food matches for shiraz and the best temperature to serve shiraz.
The 2022 Small Victories Shiraz is juicy, spicy and youthful. The fruit is from our Ashmead family vineyard in the Eden Valley. The slightly higher altitude of the vineyard (compared with the Barossa Valley floor) means cooler nights and less intense maximum daytime temperatures allow great aromatic presence and a fine tannin profile.
WHAT IS SHIRAZ V SYRAH?
This is a great question, because it does seem a little confusing that there are two names for one variety of grape.
Syrah is what you’ll often hear referred to as the ‘old-world’ term for the variety. Syrah is the original French name, and shiraz has come about in Australia.
And now the two terms are used to almost differentiate in wine-making style: syrah being for ‘old-world’ styles which are lighter in body, lower in alcohol etc and shiraz being for bold, richer, full-bodied styles with riper fruit flavours.
Producers in Australia might use either term on their labels, depending on the style in which their shiraz is made.
AT WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I DRINK MY SHIRAZ?
Room temperature, right?! Well, yes, but room temperature varies greatly during the year and in Australia is generally too warm to best show the qualities of red wines.
To best enjoy a shiraz, we suggest 15-18ºC as an ideal serving temperature. This might mean that you need to pop it in the fridge or ice bucket for a little time before opening. Or if storing in a wine fridge, you might need to give it half an hour to warm up to show at its best.
THE BEST FOOD PAIRINGS WITH SHIRAZ?
Shiraz, especially Australian shiraz, is probably most often thought of as a big wine to have with meat. We’re having steak, so we’ll have shiraz. We’re having roast beef, so we’ll have shiraz. Both are great food matches for shiraz, indeed, but there are also so many other options to pair with shiraz, especially if the style is from a cooler growing region like the Eden Valley.
Remember, you don’t have to stick to the traditional ‘rules’ of food and wine matching!
If you love a good cheese and wine match, think hard cheeses like Mimolette or an aged cheddar. And great additions to the cheese plate are olive tapenade and grilled eggplant – the saltiness will bring the fruit out in the wine you’re enjoying.
For that quick afternoon snack, crack out a bag of Red Rock honey soy chicken chips. This is the pairing with shiraz for our wine + potato crisp tasting experience at cellar door!
Matt Dunne, sommelier and wine list creator for ARIA Sydney and Opera Bar (among others), suggests firing up the bbq to cook some sticky pork ribs to pair with our shiraz.
At home, we enjoyed the Small Victories Shiraz with haloumi burgers on Monday night. It was just delicious! We loaded the haloumi burgers up with cheese, beetroot, chutney, mayo, lettuce, bacon and optional pickles.
More pairing suggestions to try with big, bold shiraz are anything grilled on the bbq – rare steak, lamb chops, mushrooms and corn on the cob.
For more cool-climate, elegant styles of shiraz (possibly labelled syrah) food matches to try include beetroot and hazelnut tarts, beef stew or lasagne.
Fabulous with a Mongolian lamb stir-fryMelissa Moore, winepilot.com
And don’t think Shiraz is simply for main meals – it can be enjoyed with some dark chocolate, too! We love the range from Deniz Karaca, but if you have a fave dark chocolate give it a go for your after dinner treat one night. You’ll be surprised.
One food matching tip we really must raise, though, is that Shiraz isn’t great with spicy Asian dishes, even if they’re your favourite. The two amp each other up and then you lose all the other delicious flavours, only seeing the heat of the spice and the wine. Choose a different wine, like a pinot gris, gruner veltliner or gewürztraminer.
ENJOY A GLASS TODAY!
If you’ve got any further questions, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – we love to chat wine!
‘til next time,