It’s Grape Finale Wine Sense Wednesday! QUESTION: Is it Syrah or Shiraz?

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ANSWER: Yes. Syrah and Shiraz are indeed the same grape, be it from the home of Syrah as we know it in the northern portion of the Rhône Valley in southeastern France, or from the new unofficial homes of Shiraz in Australia or Syrah in California. The term Shiraz is used in Australia the most, but also in South America, South Africa and sometimes in the United States as well.

This begs another question: Why? Some say when a group of Aussie winemakers took a trip to the Rhône to get a feel for the vine, they landed in Australia with less wine than they left France with, and the slurred version of Syrah was born. Others say the name Shiraz refers to the ancient Persian city of the same name, a possible birthplace of said grape variety. But where’s the fun in that?

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