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Wines of Canada look at the wines of

Syrah or Shiraz

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. They are often used in blends.

Though genetically identical, the stylistic differences between Shiraz and Syrah are pronounced enough to consider them distinct varieties. Shiraz is so important to Australian viticulture that it is the most planted grape variety in the majority of Australian vineyards and is virtually synonymous with wine regions such as the Barossa Valley.The name Shiraz has become so widely recognized and so highly marketable that it has been used to label Syrah wines in countries other than Australia.

Syrah is one of the oldest established grape varietals in the Côtes du Rhône region of southern France Some believe the grape originated here.The first records of Syrah in the United States show it arriving in California in 1878, but it remained scarce until quite recently. It is however growing in popularity.

Syrah is used as a varietal and is also blended. Following several years of strong planting, Syrah was estimated in 2004 to be the world's 7th most grown grape. Syrah has a bright future in BC

The grape is also beginning to make its mark in Ontario. Rob Power, from Creekside Estate Winery in Niagara; perhaps the most decorated Syrah winemaker in Canada with his Broken Press Syrah, can’t figure out why Syrah doesn’t get its due in Ontario.

The Syrah grape itself is thick-skinned and dark, almost black. Wines made from Syrah are intense with a dark purple-black color. The wines taste of blackberry and black raspberry fruit, smoke, tar and black pepper, and have a smooth supple texture. Syrah reflects minerality well, and the chalky character of the tannins provides a wonderful backbone to softer, fruitier varietals such as Grenache and Counoise

Five Rows Craft Wine Shiraz Syrah 2010 is another great Ontaio Shiraz. Look for a Platinum winner Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate 2010 Grand Reserve Shiraz

British wine writer Oz Clarke: wrote|

Canada  could be the next truly cool-climate syrah sensation – if it believes in perfume and beauty, not over-oaking, over-extraction and over-alcohol,” he said. The days when bigger was better are waning, and producers across the world are looking to make wines that still have oomph but also retain some freshness and avoid the jammy sweetness that was often associated with syrah. The new style requires enough warmth to ripen the grapes, but cool enough climate to keep the acidity, spice, and juicy black and red fruit flavours.”

Some outstanding producers include Black Hills, Cassini, Nk'Mip, Nichol, Township 7, Marichel Vineyard and Church and State

Look for these Wines in BC all labeled Syrah

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2011
Road 13 Vineyards 2011 Jackpot Syrah
CedarCreek 2009 Platinum Syrah
Painted Rock 2012 Syrah

In Ontario

Konzelmann Estate 2012 Shiraz
Lailey 2011 Syrah
Big Head Wines 2012 Syrah
Tawse 2010 Member Select Syrah

* Petite Syrah (a.k.a. Petite Sirah) is not the same grape as Syrah

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