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Shiraz question

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  • Betty Apr 18, 2006 05:39 PM
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I brought back a mixed case of Chuck from TJ's over Spring Break, and we have particularly enjoyed the Shiraz. In fact, I wish I'd gotten a case of it, but we are only there once a year or so (being far far away from a TJ's)

Is there a Shiraz that anyone can point me to that is similar? I've had several others, but none that I liked as well as the $3 buck Chuck.

I am, admittedly, a wine simpleton.

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  1. I don't know the "Shiraz" from Chuck, so I don't have any specific recs for you, but I'd encourage you to try some other Shiraz in your area.

    FYI, Shiraz is what the Australians (and others increasingly, it seems) call the varietal which is otherwise known as Syrah. Syrah is most famously grown (and native to, AFAIK)the Rhone area in southern France.

    So, I encourage you to try both the "new world" style of Syrah/Shiraz as produced in Australia, California etc., and the more subdued and balanced "old world" style as found in the wines of the Rhone and surroundings in the South of France. Excellent wines can be had in the 8 - 10 dollar price range, at good wine shops. If you don't have a good local place (either an independent or a Beverages and More), I'd encourage you to check out some on-line wine merchants, such as The Wine Exchange http://www.winex.com/

    or Hi-Time Cellars
    http://www.hitimewine.net/

    Any one of these places (among others) can provide you lots of useful info and good prices on Syrah and the very many other great wine varietals out there !

    Cheers !

    10 Replies
    1. re: mike g

      subdued and balanced. thats a perfect description of this wine. thanks.

      1. re: Betty

        According to winesearcher.com, Hi-Time has the 2003 Forest Glen Shiraz for $5.99. Haven't had the current vintage, but past years have been quite palatable and better than many wines that cost a lot more.

      2. re: mike g

        The grape's origins are a particular source of interest. "Shiraz" is a Persian city once famous for its wines. There is a good argument to be made that the grape originated there, and was discovered - and brought back to France - by a Crusader; the name changing along the way to "Syrah".

        Perhaps when Omar Khayyam wrote about a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and "thou", the jug contained a nice Shiraz!

        1. re: Striver

          Thanks for the clarification, I shouldn't have used the word "native" to the Rhone, 'cuz that's clearly not the case. But the Rhone is arguably one of the places that Syrah really excels and it's the "star" grape in much of the Rhone.

          1. re: mike g

            Actually, you were mostly correct. DNA evidence has shown that Syrah is in fact native to France--probably even the Rhone Valley although that's less certain--and is a genetic cross of two other obscure French grapes: Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza. It did not come from Shiraz in Persia.

          2. re: Striver

            This is a wine myth. There is no good argument to be made for this thoroughly disproven "theory" regarding the origin of the Syrah grape and the Persian city of Shiraz. DNA testing shows that Syrah significantly predated the Crusades etc. in France and Europe.

          3. re: mike g

            I recently had the best Syrah ever, it was from Sicily. I've been meaning to see if my store has any more, if they do I'll get the name.

            1. re: mike g

              Syrah and Shiraz are in fact the same grape. While Shiraz is what it is what it is called in Australia, the differences in the two wines Shiraz and Syrah is more a matter of style and treatment than anything else.

              Syrah when used in northern Rhone red wines like Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie is classically styled and ageworthy (in fact probably needs a few years or more to shine.) In southern France it is more often used in various blends, as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Languedoc-Roussillon.

              Shiraz made in Australia is normally much more fruit forward, soft and early drinking, and spicy from new oak. (However, Penfolds Grange, the epitome of Shiraz is a majestic, and expensive, wine that can age for half a century.)

              Depending on your preference, both can be wonderful to drink. Excellent examples of recent Shirazs that are affordable and easily found are Peter Lehmann Shiraz Barossa, The Wishing Tree Shiraz, Black Swan Shiraz South Eastern Australia, and the ubiquitous Yellow Tail.

              For some reason Syrah tends to shine in Washington more so than California. Syrahs from the US that are excellent and good buys include Columbia Crest Shiraz Columbia Valley and Shiraz Columbia Valley Two Vines, Covey Run Syrah Columbia Valley, and Rock Rabbit Syrah Central Coast (CA).

              1. re: dinwiddie

                I'd have to disagree with you about WA syrah vs. CA syrah. The key to finding great California syrah is NOT to look to Napa, Sonoma, etc. Instead, seek out Syrah grown in cooler climates such as the Sierra Foothills (e.g. El Dorado Co.) and Santa Barbara Co. A few producers to seek out include Edmunds St. John, Terre Rouge, Cedarville, Ojai, Qupe, Beckman, Alban, Melville, Jaffurs, Kenneth-Crawford and Margerum.

                1. re: DonnyMac

                  I agree with your Alban recommendation -- I've had a few bottles lately and they have been OUTSTANDING...albeit expensive.

            2. Or try Wine Library online they have a lot of shiraz I buy, I live in Cali and they have a store in NJ, great prices and they have a $5 shirz i buy bareback that rocks...www.winelibrary.com

              1. While I hate to admit it, the Delicato Shiraz has performed well in our blind tastings - believe that it is 4.99, and widely available.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sam Bon

                  No shame in that. Delicato does a fine job for the money. I used to work for a distributor who sold it and I placed the line as a house pour for plenty of Country Clubs. While hardly great, it was always a fine enough wine.

                  I recall the Shiraz in particular got like a 90 from the Enthusiast (which, of course, is borderline useless info unless you're out there trying to sell it ;) )

                2. Yellowtail.

                  1. I've tried and liked TJ's Shiraz, but I really like Omrah Shiraz ($15, I believe) and Wyndham Estates Bin 555 (under $10).

                    1. Betty, I think that you would love the McGuigan Brothers Black Label Shiraz from Australia. It should be about $7-8 in the USA. A very elegant and straighforward example, without harsh tannins.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bogie

                        McGuigan Bin 2000 is one of my favorite Australian Shirazzes (pluralized correctly?)

                      2. The Delicato Shiraz wins lots of awards in its class and you can get the 1.5 liter for less than $10 a bottle.

                        1. look for hidden gems in the spanish section of a wine shop. maybe not $3- but you can easily find $7 finds.