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Shiraz question

Betty Apr 18, 2006 05:39 PM

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. m
    mike g RE: Betty Apr 18, 2006 07:25 PM

    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

    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
      Betty RE: mike g Apr 18, 2006 10:29 PM

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

      1. re: Betty
        Melanie Wong RE: Betty Apr 18, 2006 10:32 PM

        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
        Striver RE: mike g Apr 19, 2006 08:50 AM

        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
          mike g RE: Striver Apr 19, 2006 12:14 PM

          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
            nja RE: mike g Apr 19, 2006 08:07 PM

            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
            DonnyMac RE: Striver Sep 11, 2006 07:39 PM

            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
            coll RE: mike g Apr 26, 2006 06:31 AM

            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
              dinwiddie RE: mike g Apr 26, 2006 03:58 PM

              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
                DonnyMac RE: dinwiddie Sep 12, 2006 04:32 PM

                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
                  Husky RE: DonnyMac Oct 7, 2006 05:11 PM

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

            2. s
              stan RE: Betty Apr 18, 2006 08:28 PM

              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. s
                Sam Bon RE: Betty Apr 19, 2006 10:34 AM

                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
                  detlefchef RE: Sam Bon Sep 12, 2006 12:28 PM

                  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. c
                  Chris Rising RE: Betty Apr 25, 2006 08:00 PM


                  1. tapas RE: Betty Sep 10, 2006 03:48 PM

                    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. b
                      bogie RE: Betty Sep 22, 2006 08:18 AM

                      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
                        kenito799 RE: bogie Sep 22, 2006 01:36 PM

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

                      2. howefortunate RE: Betty Oct 7, 2006 06:58 AM

                        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. waitress RE: Betty Oct 12, 2006 12:49 AM

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

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