Thursday, September 9, 2010

Syrah vs Shiraz... potato, patato?

Okay, what's the difference between shiraz and syrah? You probably know, right? If not, here's your nutshell. Same grape, different styles of wine. Syrah is the French style, usually, more austere, earthy, bacon, peppery notes. Shiraz is the Auz version, fruit forward, big, bold, in your face with a mace dealio. What they both have in common usually is the peppery, spicy notes, cassis or blackberry leaning fruit characters, high(ish) acid, easy tannins, medium to full body in weight, a lovely magenta colour at medium+ intensity (you can read text through your wine glass).

Here are some notes from a fun tasting we did the other day, all the wines can be purchased at Everything Wine in North Vancouver. We tasted all the wines without food first, then paired them with a black truffle salami, zucchini, tomato, fontina pizza - yum.

1. Paul Jaboulet Aine, Domaine de Thalabert, Crozes Hermitage, France, 2005 - $47.99
Winner! I loved this wine, though it didn't stand up to the pizza. Notes: Anise, caramel, plum, black cherry, pepper, cinnamon.
2. Young & Wyse, Okanagan Valley, BC, 2008 - $27.99
A good quality BC shiraz, really surprised me but didn't stand up to the Kangarilla for quality vs value. Notes: Tobacco, cassis, spice
3. Kangarilla Road, McLaren Vale, Australia, 2007 - $24.99
Winner! And look at that price! Notes: Big anise, candy, cassis, dill nose with a dusty, dark fruits palate. Paired well with bacon pizza.
4. Katnook, Founders Block, Coonawarra, 2006 - $19.99
Paled in comparison, but still a good shiraz. Notes: Earthy, vegetal, plum, mint nose. Blackberry, pencil shavings on the palate.
5. Sheridan Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington, 2005 - $62.99
You know when you suck it up and spend the wad on something and then it spits in your eye. This one spat in my eye. $60! Are you kidding me? I'd pay $25 for it. A real disappointment as I usually love Washington shiraz. Notes: Big blackberry almost port-esque leanings, slight smokey finish.

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