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What is Shiraz wine?

Syrah, Shiraz? What is it and what's the difference? Here's our guide to Shiraz wine for all you wine lovers out there.
What is Shiraz wine - main image

Shiraz is one of the world’s most popular dark-skinned grape varieties, producing delicious full-bodied red wines. If you’re looking to up your knowledge of this classic wine, our ultimate guide to Shiraz reveals everything you need to know.

Shiraz is actually Australia’s most widely-planted and successful wine grape, fact fans. With its peppery and fruity notes, this full-bodied wine pairs well with everything from roast and grilled meat dishes to cheese and decadent chocolate desserts.

Shiraz is a RedHeads staple – we can’t get enough of it – and the backbone of many of our delicious wines. It’s a robust, jammy, fruity Downunder drop that is as bold as our Aussie friends. With an army of 600 to 800 grapes needed to conjure up a single bottle of the juicy stuff, you know each drop is bursting with flavour!

One of the darkest red wines on the market, find out more about Shiraz and what makes it a real beauty bottler.

Red wine Shiraz

Shiraz wine regions

Let’s settle the naming debate right from the off. In some parts, it’s known as ‘Shiraz’, while other folks call it ‘Syrah’. Whatever your choice of lingo, essentially they’re the same grape variety.

In its country of origin, France, the grape is known as Syrah, while Shiraz is the widely adopted name for this much-loved red grape across the New World Wine regions, particularly in Oz.

Northern Rhône in France is the traditional (albeit slightly stuffy) region for premium-quality Syrah. The grape is grown worldwide, with variations in style and flavour depending on the local climate and soil, although the base characteristics remain the same.

Viticulturist James Busby, affectionately known as the ‘father of Australian wine’, introduced the grape to Australia in 1832. Travelling through Spain and France, he collected Syrah vine cuttings and brought them back to Australia, where it soon became one of the more popular grape varieties.

Today, Australia is the second biggest producer of Shiraz/Syrah. And luckily for RedHeads fans everywhere, our home turf Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest Shiraz regions. It’s where you’ll find the RedHeads winery, too – feel free to pop in for a natter if you’re in the area! You can also find Shiraz vineyards throughout South Australia, including McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Heathcote, Hunter Valley and Margaret River.

What is shiraz wine

Shiraz tasting notes

In our humble opinion, Shiraz is a bold red wine that tastes absolutely bonza.

Overall, the core flavour profile of both Syrah and Shiraz is dark fruits such as blueberries and blackberries with peppery/spicy notes, medium to high tannins, and a dry finish.

There is, however, a slight difference in flavour profiles between Syrah and Shiraz wines, depending on where the grapes are grown – a valuable tidbit of info if you need to start a conversation at parties.

Grown in more moderate climes, Syrah wines tend to be lighter with more herbaceous, earthy notes and spicy black pepper and smokey flavours.

On the other hand, good ol’ Australian Shiraz wine is typically more full-bodied with higher alcohol content, a more intense fruit flavour (think black cherries), and jammy with hints of chocolate and oak, making it a wine full of personality. Shiraz can become savoury and earthy as it ages, giving it a more port-like taste and texture.

How should Shiraz be served?

Shiraz is best served at a temperature of around 60-65°f (15-18°c) for a smooth texture and well-balanced acidity.

Ideally, a bottle of Shiraz shouldn’t be in the fridge for any longer than 25 minutes. A bold wine like Shiraz needs a wide-bowled glass with a greater surface area to allow the alcohol to breathe and balance the acidity, fruit and oak characteristics. However, these are just recommendations; we’re kinda relaxed here at RedHeads, so enjoy wine the way you like!

Is Shiraz red wine

Storing Shiraz wine

Storing your wine depends on whether it’s a screw-top or cork. Store corked bottles horizontally to keep the cork from drying out, while a screw-top bottle is a little more flexible.

For more tips on storing wine, read our guide to how long red wine lasts once opened.

Food pairings with Shiraz

A vibrant red that is perfect on its own, its characteristics shine when paired with food. A bold, jammy Shiraz loves being served with red meat, especially straight from the barbie. Other tasty pairings include:

  • Grilled or roast beef.
  • Steaks.
  • Beefy stews.
  • Roast or grilled lamb.
  • Charcuterie.
  • Hearty vegan and vegetarian dishes such as beans or lentils or intensely flavoured vegetables like aubergines and mushrooms.
  • Firm aged cheeses like mature cheddar and gouda.
  • Rich chocolate desserts.

Shiraz can overpower delicate foods like seafood and pasta, so stick to meatier dishes full of depth and flavour to help match the wine.

Need some inspiration? Read our guide to the best red wine for BBQs.

Organic Shiraz

We live in a day and age where almost everything has an organic alternative, or at least there should be. Organic Shiraz wines, such as our March of Progress Shiraz, use grapes grown without artificial pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, helping the ecosystem and biodiversity of the planet.

Try our Shiraz wines

Each of our Shiraz wines is unique and full of flavour. They include:

Looking for more Aussie wine love? Read our guide to what makes Australian wine truly great.