No grape scores higher on the intensity meter than Syrah. It’s the marquee grape of France’s Rhône Valley, where it makes smoky, powerful reds with hints of black pepper. It has also become the signature grape of Australia, where it’s called Shiraz, and typically produces fruitier, less tannic wines marked by sweet blackberry flavors. American Syrahs lean more toward the Australian mold, thanks to California’s similarly moderate weather; there are a few very good, earthy Syrahs coming from South Africa, too. Barbecued foods with a smoky char pair nicely with Syrah, as do lamb, venison and game birds.
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F&W Wine Guide 2013 spotlights 500 of the world's top producers.
It's perfect for anyone who needs help navigating a wine store anywhere in the country, says Gary Vaynerchuk.