January 30, 2015
It’s that time again when we explore the magical process of grapes being rotted and stepped on in big barrels and strained and aged in bottles in sketchy basements to produce something classy. It doesn’t make sense to us either, but, REGARDLESS, we give you this week’s edition of Learn Your Wine: Syrah.
Also referred to as Shiraz, Syrah is a dark-skinned grape variety used mostly to produce red wines. Although it originated in France, Australia has been growing the grape for some 200 years. It’s now widely grown (since it can survive and do well pretty much anywhere) in Washington, California, Oregon, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa as well.
How do you know you’re drinking Syrah? It’ll be a weird combination of peppery taste with a dark fruit flavor; plus, it’s arguably one of the most full-bodied red wines on the market. In terms of types, you could probably split between French Syrah and Australian Shiraz:
Australian Shiraz: This version has a lot of blackberry, blueberry, and even “jammy” fruit quality… like the stuff you put on toast; not how you feel when your song comes on at the club. This version is also described as peppery and even spicy. “New World” Shiraz and Syrah is usually fruitier than its Old World counterpart.
French Syrah: Instead of the pepper thing going on with New World Shiraz, French Syrah tends to have more of a smoky, blackberry, and licorice thing going on. It’s still by no means mild, but it does tend to have more earthy notes. “Old World” Syrahs are usually more acidic and herb-forward.
Syrah isn’t some mild, shrinking violet type of wine; this shit is bolder than that time you wore neon to your grandma’s funeral because you thought she’d approve were she alive.
Serve soft, smelly cheeses when you’re drinking Syrah as they’ll absorb (in a weird way) the bitter tannin taste of the wine. Provolone and parmesan cheeses also go splendidly.
Black pepper goes super well with Australian Shiraz. You could also try using lots of cloves to spice your meat before serving alongside Syrah. In short, go with any kind of barbecue or grilled meats if you’re itching to serve up this red wine.
If you want to class up your night, serve Syrah alongside pizza, burgers, or the steak you made wrong because you didn’t follow directions. If you have a bold fucking wine, you need a bold fucking meal – the kind you should usually be ashamed about eating but you don’t really care cause like you’ll just eat a salad tomorrow.
Drinking Syrah is our excuse to eat shitty food at the Super Bowl party then feel guilty about it all next week.