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Ah yes, Shiraz – one of our favourite varieties. “But why?”, you may ask. Here are some insightful things to know about Shiraz that you might not have heard of before.

1. Shiraz or Syrah?

You’ve probably heard winos say Syrah and wondered where this variety came from when you thought you were drinking a Shiraz. These terms actually refer to the same grape (genetically speaking).


While not a hard and fast rule, the difference between a Syrah and a Shiraz usually indicates the climate the grapes were grown in.


Syrah refers to grapes grown in a cool climate that emulates more of the old-world expression of the grape. This usually yields more of a medium-bodied wine. Think wines of the Rhône valley in France, or local cool climates like Elgin.


Shiraz usually refers to grapes that were grown in a warmer climate, yielding a bolder, full-bodied wine. Think most South African or Australian wines.

2. Common Notes (Aromas)

When taking a whiff of a Shiraz, there are typically some scents that will come to mind – black pepper, tobacco, smoke, and black fruit.


The climate of the grapes will impact which notes you pick up on but usually think of deeper and darker notes over acidic, fresh ones.

3. Shiraz has health benefits

Yep, you read that right – wine can actually be healthy for you. Shiraz is not necessarily lower in calories, but it has some benefits which put it up there with the healthiest of the wine cultivars. Sure Pinot Noir has more antioxidants, but Shiraz contains some elements that help with a whole range of health issues.


These benefits are derived from flavonoids and resveratrol in the grapes that help with preventing heart disease, cancer, strokes, etc. Not only that, but resveratrol has anti-ageing properties.

4. Great for ageing

On that – Shiraz is perfect for ageing and high-quality examples can be stored for up to 15 years! With ageing, different flavours will get enhanced, usually bringing out more meaty, leathery notes.

5. Pairs well with

As Shiraz usually has a fuller body, it pairs well with heavier foods and bolder flavours. Red meats, stinky cheeses, and lots of spices will always be scrumptious accompaniments for a Shiraz.


A smoky Shiraz is a great wine to enjoy with your next braai.

6. Common flavours

Something to help you identify food pairings will be the natural flavours in the wine. This is a bit different from the aromatic notes, but will still include what you smell.


The palate of the wine will usually have more of an earthiness to it like coffee or chocolate. The oakiness will lend flavours of vanilla or spice and you will often find some berry and plums flavours.


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