Definition: Syrah, or Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines. Whether sold as Syrah or Shiraz, these wines enjoy great popularity. Monterey Syrahs, much like those in France, vary a great deal based on the climate and terroir that they inhabit. In exceptionally warm regions, such as southern Monterey County, the wine is often blended with other Rhône varieties. Other appellations, primarily mountainous ones, tend to produce varietal-based wines that can stand on their own.
Flavor Profile: Syrah wines display firm tannins (although they are typically ripe and smooth, not abrasive like younger reds can be), a medium to full body, and the rich round flavors of black cherry, blackberry, plum, bell pepper, black pepper, clove, licorice, dark chocolate and smoked meat.
Food Pairing: Syrah is great for grilled meats or veggies, wild game, richly flavored red meats, beef stew and meat lover's pizza.