One wine has been gaining quite the fame recently, and many may know it by different names as it isn’t necessarily labeled on the bottles.
It’s the ‘Shiraz’ wine, an Australian name for the French ‘Syrah.
‘ And because of their history and variety, their taste is never uniform, and you can’t quite pin them at a fixed rank on a list of wines.
This wine can make or break your meals, and you must be cautious about how you pair the other items.
Now, what does Shiraz taste like? That’s for you to find out.
What is Shiraz?
If we were to consider the term alone, Shiraz is a type of grape plant.
But it is used more extensively to refer to the red wine made from these grapes.
And Shiraz wine is one red wine that anyone can enjoy no matter how far you’ve explored the wine world.
They taste great and even provide you with several health benefits.
There is another name for the grapes, Syrah, which is what the wine was called initially, and this originated from France.
Today, this term is labeled on wines made by winemakers who prefer their wines to be savory, like the Old World classics.
Since both the grapes are of the same species, the wine is called Shiraz or Syrah, depending on your region.
In areas in the southern hemisphere like Australia (where the grapes are abundantly grown), it is called Shiraz.
Because of the different climatic conditions, the wine tastes slightly different even though it’s the same grape.
What Does Shiraz Taste Like?
The flavor that describes Shiraz best is peppery and fruity.
Yes, all wines have some fruit in them, but this one has just the right amount of tannins and fruity elements.
At sight, the wine has a beautiful rich, red ruby color and is opaque.
On the nose, it aligns more with a strong, peppery, blackberry aroma.
This wine is full-bodied to the palate and can taste pretty dry and smoky.
It also has notes of spice, black pepper, and red/black fruits.
Some even say it has notes of smoked meat like bacon and beef jerky.
Well, you can find that out when you try it.
Shiraz has a moderate alcohol content (they’re mostly between 13.5 – 15.5% ABV) and so you can enjoy its taste without getting drunk.
One factor affecting this wine’s taste is the thickness of the grapes’ skin.
They’re thick and give the wine its density and opaque qualities while it gets aged in oak barrels.
The initial taste is quite strong, followed by a mild mid-palate, and ends with a burning aftertaste.
Many like to compare its flavor with Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are some differences, and we’ll look at them in the later sections.
Regardless of their taste, one crucial factor that affects the Shiraz (like all red wine) is its temperature.
It shouldn’t be served in the extremes; a moderate chill between 60° F to 65° F is the recommended serving temperature.
What to Serve with Shiraz?
If you pair your wine right, you can enjoy a delicious meal that calls for no other side dishes.
And some foods complement Shiraz better than the others, so here are a few:
- Braised or grilled beef: When your wine is full-bodied and rich in tannins, you’ve got to try some tender, well-cooked beef. Braising or grilling some beefsteak can add immense flavor to the meat. And when served with the wine, it tastes savory and tangy, almost teasing your palate.
- BBQ ribs: Barbeque ribs cooked in BBQ sauce are savory but not too overpowering, so they’re great to pair with a Shiraz with moderate tannins. And you can enjoy the ribs boneless or bone-in.
- Duck: If your Shiraz is more on the fruity side, a duck’s fatty meat will do the trick to enhance your meal. Actually, the wine does more good to the duck in that it helps give a refreshing sharpness to the fat.
- Hard cheese: Why limit your options to meat when you can have delicious dairy? And when you open a bottle of Shiraz is the best time to try a new batch of hard cheese. Or, you can even experiment with something strong and pungent, like blue cheese.
Shiraz Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon
Now, for the most awaited debate, will Shiraz stand a chance against Cabernet Sauvignon, and which one should you drink?
Let’s compare them based on some common factors:
Berries: Both Shiraz and Cabernet sauvignon has thick-skinned grapes, but the former is larger and juicier and doesn’t need long aging.
Meanwhile, the latter has a good aging potential and tastes better with time.
Color: Both wines have a rich ruby color and are very opaque.
However, Shiraz has more of a ruby red tint, while the Cab is a deep ruby.
Bouquet: When you swirl the wine, Shiraz is peppery and spicy on the nose with slightly fruity notes.
Cabernet Sauvignon is more of a savory, herby, blackberry aroma and has hints of earthy licorice.
Palate: The tannins are high in both wines.
But Shiraz gives a robust and acidic front and finishes with a subtle mid-palate.
Meanwhile, Cabernet Sauvignon has a donut effect with a weak mid-palate.
Now, which wine should you go for? That truly depends on your preferences.
Shiraz is the one to go if you want your wine intense yet fruity and round, but if classic, savory ones are your pick, definitely go for Cab.
Quite difficult to describe a single flavor, but very much an excellent choice for full-bodied, moderate tannin wine, Shiraz should definitely make your wine list.
Their distinct taste might confuse your palate and even make you keep tasting it until you’ve chugged a few glasses and find yourself drunk.
This only means they’re easy to take in, even though opaque and full-bodied, and can even make an excellent alternative for the much-celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon.
Just remember to pair some savory, meaty dishes with it so you don’t overwhelm your palate with its rich, dry flavor.