Syrah and Shiraz are the Same Grape
By Chad Upton | Editor
Casual wine drinkers might be able to name a couple dozen grape varieties used for wine, but two of the most common are actually the same grape: Syrah and Shiraz.
Why have two names for the same thing?
Based on current naming conventions, it appears to have happened when the grape was introduced to Australia in 1832, where it is known as Shiraz. Before then, it was mostly found in the Rhône valley of Southern France, where it is known as Syrah. It is also known as Shiraz in South Africa
Outside of these regions, the wines made from these grapes are marketed as either Shiraz or Syrah. The choice is sometimes arbitrary, but often has to do with the flavor of the wine. A smokey, tannic wine from these grapes could be called a Syrah since it is similar in character to those made in Rhône valley. Conversely, a sweet, fruity, peppered version might be labelled a Shiraz because it’s more like an Australian classic.
Photo: Adrian Midgley (cc)