Syrah is one of my favorite wines to make and drink. Shiraz, on the other hand, is not one of the wines on my list of favorites. I find this amazing since the wine is made from the same grape. It’s just the climate and winemaker that creates the vast differences in the style, aroma and flavors of the wine. Rhône style Syrah wine possesses a certain elegance, along with an earthiness and notes of black current, white pepper, violet and olive. On the other end of the spectrum, Shiraz wine possesses a denser, fruit forward and tannic characteristic with notes of blackberry, plum, jam, violet and licorice. One grape, two totally different wines.
As far as the name is concerned, it would have been a marketing faux pas for the Australians to have the same name for such a dissimilar product. The Australians first used the name Syrah like the French, then soon altered it to Scyras, and finally changed it Shiraz after the ancient city where the grape originated. It was the French who first deviated from the original ancient spelling, changing the name to Syrah, mainly because they couldn’t pronounce Shiraz. Neither name or wine style is bad, they’re just different.
Annette Solomon, CS