The Complete Guide to Shiraz Wine

Shiraz wine is a popular choice among wine lovers around the world. Made from the Shiraz grape, also known as Syrah, this full-bodied red wine is known for its high tannins and rich flavours. Here’s everything you need to know about the Shiraz wine history, production, and characteristics, as well as some food pairings and serving suggestions.



Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape in theory. Regional expressions and styles influenced by the climate are what separate the two. Both in the Old World and the New World, winemakers operating in cooler climatic growing regions frequently refer to their wines as Syrah. The most well-known examples originate from France’s northern Rhône Valley, specifically from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

The wines are known as Syrah in the New World because they imitate the leaner, acid-driven, savoury characteristics of the Old World French classics. These places include the Sonoma Coast in California, the Yarra Valley in Australia, and sections of Chile.

Shiraz often originates in regions of South Australia called Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills, which have warmer temperatures for growing grapes. These wines are lavish, fruit-forward representations of the warmer climate and brighter style. When choosing the right bottle of Shiraz wine for you, you need to consider the region it comes from, as different parts produce different flavours.

What Kind of Wine Is a Shiraz?


Shiraz is the wine to choose if you want something powerful and robust. The opaque, ruby-purple wines have extensive, ripe tannins and rich scents and flavours of blueberry and blackberry, and the black pepper spice and smoked meat flavours like bacon and beef jerky are very distinctive. Alcohol content (14–15%), oak utilisation and ageing intensity tend to be greater than in Syrah varieties. You can find benchmark samples in the Barossa Valley.

On the other hand, dry, full-bodied, opaque Syrah wines have substantial tannins, sharp acidity, and moderate-to-high alcohol content (13–14.5%). Syrah wine boasts a variety of flavours, including notes of violet, bacon, smoke, herbs, red and black fruits, and white and black pepper. It develops aromas of vanilla and baking spice when aged in oak. Syrah wines are, generally speaking, more refined, svelte, and savoury than Shiraz, the robust, fruit-forward relative.

Is Shiraz Sweet or Dry?

Shiraz and Syrah are often prepared in dry styles, while entry-level Shiraz occasionally contains a small amount of residual sweetness (RS). Remember that perceiving ripe fruit flavours especially in warm-climate Shiraz, like blueberry and blackberry, is not a result of the wine’s sugar content. A dry wine is one in which the sugar from the grape is converted to alcohol by yeast after crushing the grapes.

The production of a fully dry wine comes with the transformation of all or nearly all sugar. A little RS is occasionally left behind on purpose to give the wine a hint of richness and sweetness, or it could be a sign that the yeast didn’t complete the fermentation. But even a few grams per litre of RS still regards as a dry wine.

Recommended Food Pairings for Shiraz


Whether you enjoy drinking a glass of red wine in your wine-and-dine garden area or a fancy restaurant, you can pair red Syrah with many foods. Shiraz goes nicely with flavourful foods like grilled red meats, meaty stews, tomato-based Italian dishes, and pizza because it is a bold and powerful wine.

It also pairs well with vegetarian cuisine because of its high tannin content. Try it with falafel, lentil burgers, mushroom risotto, or vegetarian lasagna. Shiraz wine is a standard selection for cheeseboards. It works nicely with grilled halloumi, camembert, Parmigiano-Reggiano and intense-flavoured cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Due to its strong flavour, it’s not a wine that goes well with light salads, seafood, or light meals.

How Does Shiraz Wine Compare to Other Wines?

Shiraz vs Merlot

Are Merlot and Shiraz wines comparable? In no way. The two are very different from one another. Depending on the region, Shiraz is a robust, full-bodied red wine with either fruity or earthy characteristics. It’s a wine with a complicated yet alluring presence that draws sommeliers and wine enthusiasts worldwide.

On the other hand, the medium-bodied red wine Merlot has supple, velvety undertones. It tastes delicately delicious with undertones of cherry and berries. Merlot is an excellent option for individuals new to red wines because it is simple to drink.

Shiraz vs Pinot Noir

What distinguishes Pinot Noir and Shiraz wines from one another? First off, because of its high tannin density, Shiraz is substantially darker than Pinot Noir. It tastes stronger because of the hot plum, blackberry, and black pepper flavours. Despite having an earthy flavour similar to French Syrah, Pinot Noir is a lighter, medium-bodied wine that goes well with most foods and flavours.

Shiraz vs Cabernet Sauvignon

Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are arguably the most comparable red wines. But their structural designs vary. While both wines have a robust body, Shiraz has more fruity, peppery, and spicy aromas. Contrarily, Cabernet exhibits a more nuanced fusion of blackcurrant, leather, and tobacco flavours. Both of these are excellent wines. Everything comes down to personal taste.

Shiraz vs Malbec

If you love Shiraz, there is a good chance that you will love Malbec, too. They are hearty red wines that pair wonderfully well with red meats and cheeseboards, but Malbec is softer on the palate with notes of plum, vanilla and blackcurrant, while Shiraz delivers a strong finish with pepper spice and dark fruits.

Author: Christina Stone

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