Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Shiraz, the Australian name for the syrah grape, widely used elsewhere, and therefore a name better known by many consumers than its Rhône original. Because Australian Shiraz was so successful in European markets, the word Shiraz has been used on wine labels for Syrah grown all over the world, notably south africa, although the word Syrah is also sometimes used to denote a lighter, fresher north rhône style of wine rather than a typically concentrated, fruit-driven, potent Australian Shiraz. From the early years of the 19th century onwards, Shiraz (variously called Scyras, Syrah, or Hermitage) was the dominant red variety in Australia. When the concurrent red wine and export booms began in the second half of the 1980s, plantings in all regions, very cool to very warm, increased substantially. The result has been a range of styles from elegant, cool-grown Rhône styles (often with a dash of Viognier—see co-fermentation) through half a dozen important and regionally distinctive richer, riper styles, some traditional (Barossa Valley), some newer (Heathcote). Blends of Shiraz and Cabernet have been an Australian speciality for decades. For more detail, see australia.