Our tasting group really enjoyed the New World options we tasted, and given that the most expensive bottle was around $20, these seem like great options to restock for future dinners, gifts, or Saturday nights. The French Syrahs we tried were much drier, with pronounced acidity and earthiness when compared to their New World counterparts.
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My journey with Syrah started years ago with my sister (older and wiser by about 4 years). We were in an Australian wine shop (as in, a wine shop located in Australia) aiming to pick up something different and local that we wouldn't be able to find back home. At the time, my encounters with Syrah had been few and far between, but I knew that it was a big part of Australian wine. So I turned to the salesman and earnestly asked, "Could you make some recommendations for a few bottles we could take back home to the States? We're looking for something we wouldn't normally be able to get there, like an Australian Sy...errr..." I glanced at a bunch of bottles around me, and all of them said 'Shiraz,' not Syrah. So with my lightning quick mental agility, I ended the statement with: "az."
Syrah hails from the Rhône region of France but has made its home all over the world. Syrah wines from cooler regions are evocative of blackberries and black pepper, with age-worthy tannins. Syrah from warmer areas tends to offer full and jammy blueberry flavors with a softer structure. We tried a handful of affordable California bottlings and found a few delicious choices.