Que Syrah, Shiraz.
Lengend has it that the Syrah wine grape was orginally grown in Shiraz, an ancient city in Persia, now Iran. The grape found its way to Rhone Valley where the French put their own pronunciation twist. However, in Australia the Syrah is call Shiraz simply using the grapes orginal name.
If you have a preference for a particular expression of Syrah grapes like me, you are quite aware that terrior does matter. The Syrah is an adaptable grape that does well in both warm and cool climates. It also prefers well drained gravelly soil for roots to delve deep to survive and requires good sun exposure.
A nice bottle of Syrah wine is definitely a personal preference. In my opinion, many of the Australian Shiraz are aggressive and robust. The N. Rhone styles are still traditionally elegant and classic. The CA Rhone Rangers are usually voluptuous skyrockets (high alcoholic fruit bombs). Argentina Syrah’s are so tasty and powerful that one needs to pair with a hearty steak. Also, I have been enjoying Washington’s Colombia Valley expressions on the Syrah. BTW, I fall into the ideology camp that blends are better than any grape can be alone. Many nice Syrah wines can stand alone or are blended with their complementary grapes such as zinfandel, Merlot, Grenach, Mourvedre, Cab. Sauv., Petite Sirah, Carignan, Viognier, Counoise, etc. But lately, I enjoyed a few Syrah blended wines from Valencia, Spain that are worth mentioning.
Some of the Syrah blends that I enjoyed while traveling throughout the Valencia wine region were also blended with the mainstream grapes varietals listed above. But then I came across some Syrah wines that were blended with grapes such as Graciano, Tempranillo, Monastrell, or Bobal. Que? Isn’t Bobal the bimbo grape of Valencia? Well, even bimbos have their forte. Yes indeed, the Bobal is a bombshell that blends beautifully in a Syrah wine, so keep an eye out for Bobal / Syrah blends from Valencia!
I also enjoyed a Bobal Rose to complement my Mediterranean, sun bathing, view that was very nice. I am not a wine smartie, but am well aware of the wines that I enjoy, the wines that triggers memories, and the wines that make a lasting impression. And I must say, these Bobal grapes give a unique Valencia twist. Now this wine has some nice legs!
Usually one presumes the popular Spanish wine appellations of Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Ruedo, and Priorat are the only noteworthy regions. Debunk that assumption because Valencia is a reputable DOC, which produces such juicy and succulent fruit. As the saying goes, It takes great grapes to make great wine. After all, Valencia's association with wine and the wine trade dates back to Neolithic times; so it goes to show that Valencia's history has long been associated with tasty and voluptuous grapes.
In my opinion, the Valencia expressions on their Syrah wines are fabulous and actually a nice change from the 'old world vs. new world' debates regarding Syrah styles. With these Valencia styles, I get the combinations of an elegant N. Rhone, with a CA fruit forward, yet an Oz style of richness, and Argentinean boldness. I am not saying that these wines are higher quality, I just simply prefer these styles over the others. Some of these Valencia Styled Syrahs remind me of Sicily's Nero D' Avola wines (sometimes called Italy's Shiraz).
Needless to say, not only is Valencia one of the best producers of juicy oranges, but it is now my preferred style of Syrah wine. Word has it that around the local Valencia wine shops and resturants Syrah wines are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the surrounding Mediterranean towns.
Speaking of Valencia’s oranges, don’t forget to try Agua de Valencia, which is a Spanish cocktail made from a base of cava, orange juice, vodka and gin. Yummy! It makes a nice apéritif to compliment tapas as a prelude to our night event of bull fighting. Toro!
Don't forget to try Valencia's famous dish, Paella. Did you know that there are different styles of paella depending on the region of Spain. Paella Valenciana consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans, and seasoning.
So, the next time you find yourself strolling down the streets of Valencia do
what the Valencians do. Dine café al fresco at 10 pm enjoying a nice bottle of Syrah paired with their traditional style paella.
El Vino Valenciano Fue Sabroso!
So if you want to take a break from ABC (Anything But Cabernet ) try a Syrah/Shiraz; whatever will be, will be!
The Delong 100 Grape Varietal Challenge encourages all wine enjoyers to expand their wine drinking horizon by seeking out unusual grape varieties. These past few years, I have tasted over 180 grape varieties. After all, there are over thousands of grape varieties world wide. With so many wine grapes, styles of wine, and wineries to explore, wine is an educational adventure. So grab your virtual passport and come along with me on a Grape EdVenture™ around the world.
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