Syrah, Part 1: Intro

Syrah is a lot of things.  It is confused, misunderstood, and under appreciated.  It is brilliant and schizophrenic and frustrating.  This list goes on and on, but the bottom line is that Syrah offers more discovery than perhaps any other grape. 

What's not to love about that?

Next to Cabernet, there is more Syrah than any other variety in our cellar.  With the Cab, you pretty much know what you're going to get within a narrow range, almost regardless of which you reach for.  Not so with mysterious Syrah.  Not at all.  And this is one of the cornerstones of this multi-part series.  Stay tuned for future installations as we try to make sense of this enigma. 

In the meantime, some homework: go out and buy yourself a bottle of Syrah.  We'll start with Australia, which we'll use as our first benchmark as we explore the grape in its many iterations.  Why Australia?  Because it's such a consistently obvious expression of the grape (though there are notable exceptions of restraint, of course).  Some specific recommendations in the under $15 range:
  • Peter Lehmann Shiraz
  • The Formula Robert's Shiraz
  • Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz Estate Grown
 If you can't find any of these, then reach for anything from the Barossa region.

Now for the homework assignment: 
  1. Pull the cork
  2. Pour into a glass (optional)
  3. Enjoy. 
  4. Now answer the following questions (don't worry - you will not be scored on this test):
  • Black or blue?
  • Warm or cold?
  • Rich or bland?
  • Serious or carefree?
  • Hard or soft?
  • Light or heavy?
  • Round or sharp?
  • Fast or slow?
  • Chewy or soft?
  • Earth or fruit?
  • Chocolate or vanilla?
If you haven't figured it out already, this questionnaire is a really good way to get tanked in a hurry.  You've been warned.  Now go have some fun and we'll see you next week.