Que Syrah, Syrah!
What it will be …… well, what it was – is a night full of Syrah/ Shiraz from around the world. While at first glance one could say “they all look the same”, that was hardly the case for what we smelled and tasted in those glasses. Syrah is a varietal that can be grown in many different locations with varying terrior and climate, but it certainly has a preference which shows in superior examples. Syrah/ Shiraz shows different flavour profiles if grown in a hot climate like the Barossa Valley in Australia compared to the moderate and cooler climate of the Northern Rhone in France. In hotter climates Syrah/ Shiraz tends to be fuller with slightly softer tannin than its cooler-climate counterpart. It also generally shows a more ripe, jam like fruit presence with secondary spice notes. A cooler climate Syrah/Shiraz is more medium fullness with slightly higher tannin and a much more herbaceous flavours. So – with all that in mind, what did we taste? In a blind tasting we sampled 6 Syrah/ Shiraz from around the globe, in the order we tasted they were as follows (with corresponding group score out of 5 – 5 being the BEST):
1. Falernia Syrah 2011, Chile 3/5
2. Peter Lehmann “Portrait” 2015 Barossa Valley, Australia 3.25/5
3. C.C. Jentsch Cellars 2014, Okanagan Valley, Canada 3.5/5
4. Smoking Loon 2015, California, USA 3.4/5
5. M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage, France 2.5/5
6. Longview Yakka 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia 3.75/5
The clear crowd pleaser of the night was the Longview Yakka a cool climate Australian Shiraz from Adelaide Hills. Being a cooler climate style this wine had medium to full body with vibrant dark fruit, pepper and baking spices – this wine pleased everyone’s palates! Second in line was a Syrah from our own backyard in the Okanagan. BC is producing some lovely Syrah and this one by small producer C.C. Jentsch is no exception. One more to highlight from the line-up has to be the Smoking Loon Syrah – the value pick! When you look at those scores again remember that they were all tasted blind and that the Smoking Loon will save your wallet at $14 a bottle! There are so many interesting and very different expressions of this grape – I encourage you to go out and try some different ones, you may just add a new “favourite” to your list!