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Syrah - Regions, Best Wines, Prices (2021)

By
Brent Akamine
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January 17, 2021

Eager to know everything about Syrah wine before buying one for your collection?

Hailing from Rhone Valley in France, Syrah is elegant and bold and is the perfect wine for joyous celebrations. Luscious flavors aside, Syrah wine is also a favorite among wine collectors for its remarkable age-worthiness.

But, was Syrah first grown in the Rhone Valley? How is it different from Shiraz? How does it taste? 

In this article, let’s explore the world of Syrah - its colorful history, taste, the best food pairing, and the best Syrah wines in 2021. Also, find out the easiest way to buy and invest in this famous wine.

Further reading

Invest in the finest, rarest wines in the world using this insightful guide to Wine Investing.

This Article Contains

  1. 1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage 'Cuvée Cathelin', Rhône, France
  2. 1980 Marius Gentaz-Dervieux Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France
  3. 1999 Noel Verset Cornas, Rhone, France
  4. 2003 Sine Qua Non The Duel Estate Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA
  5. 1987 Marcel Juge Cornas, Rhone, France
  6. 2013 Sine Qua Non 'Le Supplement' Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA
  7. 1991 Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France
  8. 1985 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France
  9. 2007 Marie et Pierre Benetiere Cote Rotie Le Dolium, Rhone, France
  10. 2014 Penfolds Grange Bin 95, Australia

A Quick Intro to Syrah Wine

Syrah Wine

Although Syrah is said to have originated in France’s northern Rhone Valley region, it is now one of the most widely planted red wine grapes of the world. 

Syrah wines are admired for their dark fruit flavors, brisk acidity, and peppery aromas. They are usually full-bodied, opaque, and have an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 13%-15%. 

Although Syrah produces delicious varietals, it is also blended with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Cinsault grape varieties to produce more fruit-driven wines. But the most age-worthy bottles are usually 100% Syrah.

Also read: Here’s how to design a perfect wine cellar in your home.

A Brief History of the Syrah Grape

Syrah Grapes

Syrah’s origin has been a topic of debate for a long time. Some historians claim it was the Romans who spread it across Europe from Syracuse in Sicily, and others say that the Greeks planted it 500 years before the Romans!

Some even believe it to be named after the Iranian city - Chiraz or Shiraz.

Irrespective of these hypotheses, the research conducted by Carole Meredith (owner of Lagier Meredith wines in Napa) in 1998 at UC Davis showed that Syrah is an offspring of Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche grape varieties found in the French Alps.

From there, it reached Rhone Valley and slowly to different parts of the world. As it traveled the world, Syrah evolved into a range of unique styles.

The Syrah Grape and its Terroir

Syrah Grape and its Terroir

Syrah is a dark-skinned grape hailing from the Rhone Valley in France. 

It grows best in dry and warm climates. That’s why the best Syrah vineyard plots of northern Rhone are found at the hilltops of Cote Rotie’s “Roasted Slope” and in Hermitage. 

The hilltops get maximum exposure to the sun, and the soils are well-drained with a little limestone. The limestone retains the heat and produces concentrated Syrah grapes.

Now let’s see how Syrah is different from Shiraz.

The Difference Between Syrah and Shiraz

Syrah and Shiraz

Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape and share the same DNA profile. The difference is that it is Syrah in France and other Old World wine regions, and it is known as Shiraz in Australia and South Africa. (Much like Pinot Noir is known as Pinot Nero in Italy.)

So is there any difference between Syrah and Shiraz wine?

Even though the grape is the same, Australian Shiraz wines are fruitier than the floral and dense French Syrah wines. 

This brings us to another common question. 

Are Syrah and Petite Sirah the same grape?

The Difference Between Syrah and Petite Sirah

Syrah and Petite Sirah

No, Syrah and Petite Sirah are not the same grape. 

Petite Sirah (not Petite Syrah) or Durif is a distinctive grape variety (a cross between Syrah and Peloursin) that is widely planted in California.

Also read: Explore the best sparkling wines from across the globe.

Major Syrah Wine Regions

Syrah Regions

Syrah is known by many names around the world - Shiraz, Sirac, Marsanne Noir, Entournerein, Serène, and Hermitage. Let’s see where this grape is grown. 

Here are the three major Syrah wine regions in the world.

1. France

France

France is the spiritual home of Syrah. A range of blended and varietal Syrah wines - from tannic Hermitage wines to perfumed Cote Rotie Syrah - are produced here.

Syrah is also a key blending grape in Cote du Rhone blend (blended with Grenache and Mourvedre.) Crozes-Hermitage, a northern Rhone Valley appellation, is another major Syrah wine region.

In Southern Rhone (especially Languedoc and Chateauneuf-du-Pape), it is added to Grenache wines to add structure. Unlike northern Rhone, Southern Rhone winemakers don’t produce many high-quality Syrah varietals.

2. Australia

Australia

Syrah vines were planted in Australia in 1832 by James Busby, an immigrant from Europe. It is known as Shiraz and has become one of the region’s most loved red wine grapes. 

In Barossa Valley, South Australia, Shiraz is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine is aged in new American oak. On the other hand, the cooler climates of Margaret River produce French-style wines that are less alcoholic. 

Other than Barossa Valley, Australian Shiraz wines are also produced in McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

3. United States

United States

Syrah is known by its French name in the United States. But, producers use ‘Shiraz’ on their wine label if the wine is produced using new-world winemaking techniques.

First planted in California in the 1970s by Rhone Rangers (a group of viticulturists that promoted Rhone wines in the United States), Syrah is now also grown in Washington State, Ohio, and Oregon. 

Sonoma County, Santa Barbara, and Paso Robles are the key California Syrah wine regions. Although Sonoma is mostly known for its Cabernet Sauvignon wines, it produces delicious French-style Syrahs.

In warmer regions like Napa, Syrah is often blended with other Rhone Valley grape varieties, while in cooler climates, the winemaker sticks to varietal wines.

4. Other Syrah Wine Regions

Other Regions

Syrah wines are also produced in Italy, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Portugal, and Chile.

Read more: Dive into the world of deep and luscious red wines and these cellar-worthy white wines.

Now for the best part:

Syrah Wine - Taste and Food Pairings

Taste

Syrah is a dry, full-bodied red wine with brisk acidity and robust tannin. 

Although Syrah wines showcase primary flavors of red and black fruit, smoke, licorice, and black pepper in general, New World and Old World wines are quite distinctive.

New World Vs. Old World Syrah

New World vs Old Word

Old World Syrah wines from Italy and France are more terroir-driven and have higher acidity with dominant herbaceous flavors. On the other hand, New World Syrah or Shiraz wines, especially from Australia, have more fruit-forward flavors than earthy notes.

Syrah’s earthy flavors make it a great companion with grilled meat dishes, sauteed vegetables, steak, and soft cheese.

Don’t know the best Syrah wine to pair with your delicious meal or to store in your cellar? 

We’ve got you covered!

Read more: Counting calories? Read this comprehensive guide to estimate calories in your red wine glass.

Best Syrah Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)

Best to buy 2021

Here are some of the best Syrah wines to buy in 2021.

1. 1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage 'Cuvée Cathelin', Rhône, France 

1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage 'Cuvée Cathelin', Rhône, France

A beautifully aged enigma, the 1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage 'Cuvée Cathelin' has a range of complex flavors. 

The nose gives off truffle, forest floor, black cherry, earth, peppery spice, and herb notes. The palate is voluptuous, rounded, and has a lasting finish.

Price of 1990 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage 'Cuvée Cathelin', Rhône, France: $14,053

Read more: Explore the world of sweet Moscato wine. Also, find the right glass to serve it!

2. 1980 Marius Gentaz-Dervieux Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France 

1980 Marius Gentaz-Dervieux Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France 

The 1980 Marius Gentaz-Dervieux is a 100% Syrah wine from Cote Rotie. It’s a deep red color in the glass. The nose gives off aromas of red berries, violet, pepper, and spicy notes.

Price of 1980 Marius Gentaz-Dervieux Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France: $4,667

3. 1999 Noel Verset Cornas, Rhone, France 

1999 Noel Verset Cornas, Rhone, France 

The 1999 Noel Verset Cornas is a deep red wine with purple hues. The nose opens with dark fruit aromas with plum and wild berries. The palate is elegant, with vibrant acidity and a lasting finish.

Price of 1999 Noel Verset Cornas, Rhone, France: $1,087

4. 2003 Sine Qua Non The Duel Estate Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA 

2003 Sine Qua Non The Duel Estate Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA 

Sine Qua Non is a cult winery specializing in Rhone grape wines, mostly Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, and Viognier. This vintage is made from the grapes sourced from the “Eleven Confessions” vineyard. 

It is a well-balanced wine with the perfect balance of fruit and aging notes. The palate is intense, with notes of red and black fruit and subtle smokey flavors.

Price of 2003 Sine Qua Non The Duel Estate Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA: $2,252

5. 1987 Marcel Juge Cornas, Rhone, France 

1987 Marcel Juge Cornas, Rhone, France 

The 1987 Marcel Juge Cornas is a rare vintage that showcases the finesse of traditional French winemaking. 

The aging has allowed the wine to develop earthy notes while still maintaining its savory dark fruit flavors. The palate is smooth and has a long finish.

Price of 1987 Marcel Juge Cornas, Rhone, France: $1,449

6. 2013 Sine Qua Non 'Le Supplement' Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA 

2013 Sine Qua Non 'Le Supplement' Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA

The tannins of this 2013 vintage by Sine Qua Non are still firm, and the wine can spend a few more years in the cellar. 

The nose gives off a range of aromas, including black plums, blackberry, black pepper, spices, and herbs. You may also notice subtle notes of earth, violet, and truffle. The palate is dense and smooth. 

2013 Sine Qua Non 'Le Supplement' Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, USA: $669

7. 1991 Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France 

1991 Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France 

Another full-bodied red wine from northern Rhone, the 1991 Domaine Jamet is loved for its dominant spice notes and hints of red fruits. 

Price of 1991 Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhône, France: $2,306

8. 1985 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France 

1985 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France

The 1985 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne is a well-layered wine with primary fruit flavors with subtle earth and smoked meat notes. The palate is full and rounded.

Price of 1985 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France: $1,732

9. 2007 Marie et Pierre Benetiere Cote Rotie Le Dolium, Rhone, France 

2007 Marie et Pierre Benetiere Cote Rotie Le Dolium, Rhone, France

This 2007 vintage from northern Rhone has a layered nose and rounded palate. The nose has smokey and tobacco notes. The palate is full of plum, blackberry, and black currant flavors.

Price of 2007 Marie et Pierre Benetiere Côte Rotie Le Dolium, Rhone, France: $680

10. 2014 Penfolds Grange Bin 95, Australia 

2014 Penfolds Grange Bin 95, Australia 

Rich, intense, and concentrated, the 2014 Penfolds Grange deserves a place in your must-try wines list.

This Australian Shiraz wine is full of fruity flavors with subtle vanilla, cedar, and Earl Grey tea notes. The palate is full, rounded, and has a long, savory finish - a great wine to have with grilled meat.

Price of 2014 Penfolds Grange Bin 95, Australia: $745

Should You Invest in Syrah Wine?

Invest in Syrah Wine

Depending on the area of production and the producer, Syrah wines can age from anywhere between 5-20 years. But the highest quality northern Rhone Syrahs from Hermitage and Cote Rotie can age for 25+ years.

Also, top Syrah wine producers like E. Guigal, Domaine Jean-Louis, and Domaine Jamet have shown significant price appreciation over the years. 

For example, the 2009 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage’s average price grew from $100 in 2018 to $125 in 2020. Also, Juge Cornas saw a 16% hike in prices from mid-2019 to mid-2020. 

Some Syrah wines also perform well at auctions. For example, in 2007, the Paul Jaboulet Ainé Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 set an auction record when its 12-bottle lot was sold for  $247,747. 

That’s why Syrah is a good choice as a serious long-term investment.

But, how do you find the best Syrah wine for your wine collection? How do you buy one at the right prices?

Your best bet would be to trust a leading wine investment companylike Vinovest that helps you invest in authentic, collectible wines.

Buy Fine Syrah and Other Collectible Wines through Vinovest

Vinovest

Vinovest is a leading wine investment firm that helps you buy, store, and sell fine collectible wines from across the globe - from Cotes du Rhone and Sonoma County to Chile or China!

How Does it Work?

Investing through Vinovest requires four quick steps.

  • Sign up on the Vinovest website.
  • Share your risk appetite and investment preferences by answering a questionnaire.
  • Add a minimum of $1000 to your account.
  • Start building your wine portfolio online!

Benefits

Look at some of the reasons why Vinovest is the right choice.

1. Best Prices

Vinovest sources your wine directly through wineries, global wine exchanges, and wine auctions, ensuring that you get the best price for your Tempranillo, Eiswein, or any other wine.

2. Expert Advisory Team

A team of master sommeliers helps you curate your wine portfolio using quantitative investment models and historical market data. 

3. Access to a Global Wine Network

Investing with Vinovest gives you access to rare wineries, limited edition wines, and upcoming vineyards, even in the lesser-known wine regions.

4. Optimal Storage

Vinovest stores your Lambrusco, sweet red wine, or any other collectible in temperature-controlled warehouses with optimal heat, humidity, and the right light.

5. Insurance

The wine bottles you buy through Vinovest come with a full-coverage insurance policy.

6. Provenance and Authenticity

Vinovest ensures the provenance of every wine bottle you buy. So, you won’t have to worry about a counterfeit Screaming Eagle ever again!

7. Low Overall Price

Vinovest charges a fee of 2.85% (reduces to 2.5% for a portfolio of $50,000 and more.)

This fee includes buying, selling, storage, authentication, full-coverage insurance, and portfolio management. Also, since bonded warehouses do not charge any excise duty or VAT, you get tax advantages while storing your much-loved Chardonnay or any other wine!

8. Ownership

You own the sweet white wine and any other wine bottle you buy through Vinovest.

Adorn Your Wine Collection With An Elegant Syrah!

Wine Collection

Syrah wines are elegant, robust, and full of complex flavors. Add to this their fantastic aging potential, and you have a perfect collectible wine. 

If you’re looking to build a serious wine investment portfolio, get in touch with Vinovest - your hassle-free option for profitable wine investment. 

Sign up and start building a rewarding wine collection today!

Further reading

Step into the world of fabulous Red Wines in This Incredibly Useful Red Wine Guide!

Written by

Brent Akamine

Brent is a serial entrepreneur bringing nearly 20 years of experience from senior roles TrueCar, ByteDance and more. He led the US re-launch/re-design of the TikTok App and was also design director at Blockfolio.
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