Aussies call it Shiraz, Americans refer to it as Syrah, but for all intents and purposes, it’s the same great grape. Syrah reigns as Australia’s premier grape variety, garnering the accolades and attention reserved in America for California Cabernet.
Yet, American Syrah is every bit as exciting as Australian Shiraz, and it’s often more complex and compelling. Furthermore, premium California Syrahs remain veritable bargains in comparison to the Golden State’s top Cabernets. So, why don’t we drink more Syrah?
The fact is, America is just starting to discover Syrah, and California’s acumen with the nation’s other great red varietal may, in the not so distant future, rival Cabernet Sauvignon in popularity and quality.
Napa Valley, Santa Barbara County, and California’s Central Coast contain a trove of great Syrah wines. From Napa Valley, one can always count on outstanding Syrah from Colgin, Konsgaard, and Phelps, to name just a few of Napa’s iconic producers of this varietal, but at a price.
Equally persuasive and even more complex are the Syrah wines from Santa Barbara County and California’s Central Coast region. Alban, Beckmen, Carlisle, Jaffurs, Olai, Sin Qua Non, Stolpman, and Tensley fashion pure, polished Syrahs to make even the most diehard Cabernet drinker swoon. Moreover, many of these Central Coast Syrahs provide tremendous pleasure even in their first few years of life, unlike the state’s top Cabernets, and these Syrahs can be cellared to perfection for up to a decade or more.
Best of all, one doesn’t have to be a billionaire to drink great California Syrah. Producers such as Beckmen and Stolpman fashion Syrahs that qualify as the finest quality and value wines among all premium California varietals. Enjoy!