Syrah is a dark-skinned grape and the style and the flavor profile of the wine is influenced by the climate where the grape grows. You will find a more consistently, full-bodied wine with softer tannins, fruit and spice notes of anise and leather in warmer climates. In the more moderate climate regions, Syrah tends to produce medium to full-bodied wines with flavors of black pepper, mint and blackberry. The wine also tends to have medium to high levels of tannins.
Because of the high tannins and concentrated flavors, Syrah wines are at their best after considerable bottle aging. This wine has one of the highest recommended serving temperatures at 18 °C. The wine is often powerfully flavored and full-bodied. Aroma characters can range from chocolate to espresso and black pepper, berries and lavender. With age these notes are mellowed into leathery and truffle.
Syrah is a key component in many blends. This is also the darkest wine on the market and you will find it difficult to see through the wine. A good Syrah will do several things at once, entice and seduce you with a fine description of fruit, textures and spice, while it is knocking you off your proverbial feet! It is said Syrah is like a Cabernet Sauvignon, without the testosterone, or a Pinot Noir, without the delicacy.
Syrah is a “Big Red” so think along the lines of red fleshed foods, lamb, beef, tuna, goose and game, even the fattier cuts of pork. Remember the spices in Syrah – black pepper and smoke – as there is a subtle complexity that can be overlooked. Use aromatics like ginger, basil, rosemary, oregano, peppercorns and peppers (bell or chili)
You can lift the floral qualities by using berries and plums, even cherries. Grilled meats are superb with Syrah and there is enough fruit forward quality in a top notch Syrah to be great with stews. It is an excellent wine to go with Chinese foods, not just because of the complexity of the food, but because the cuisine tends to touch all parts of the tongue. Syrah have the complexity and the stuffing to fit in places few other wines can. Also try some sharp cheddar, Edam or Gouda cheese with a spicy Syrah.