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Best Shiraz

One of the most popular grapes in the world, Shiraz, which is also spelled Syrah (and is always pronounced "sir-rah") is a full-bodied grape that's used to make fruit-forward wines that typically have bold, jammy flavors. In Australia, where Shiraz is one of the most popular varietals, the warmer climate leads to wines with big fruit flavors, subtle notes of spice and earthy flavors, and plenty of tannins to stand up to decades in the wine cellar. In Rhone, France, and other cooler wine-growing regions, Shiraz tends to have softer flavors, and slightly less body, though these wines still have enough tannins that they age very well.

A good Shiraz should always have enough body to support the variety of flavors in these dark-purple grapes. Light-bodied Shiraz with simple red fruit flavors shows a flaw in the wine and unfortunately, many inexpensive Shiraz wines fall flat because of poor growing conditions or overly watery grapes. When looking for a good Shiraz, you'll want to choose a wine with a complex flavor profile that packs a huge punch of fresh fruit, whether it's fresh blackberry in a cool-climate wine or dark fruit jam in a warm-climate wine. The tannin should be big and bold in a young wine, though markedly softer in a wine that's been given time to age.

L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah '10

L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah

L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah is one of the best Shiraz to come out of North American wineries. The grapes are grown in the cool climate of Washington State and the resulting wine has lots of berry flavor, plenty of soft yet structured tannins, and an acidic bite that Shiraz from warmer climates can lack. On the nose, it has notes of black raspberry and oak. The palate is full and luscious, with an intensely fruity flavor that finishes just a touch sweetness. In the glass, this wine is a dark ruby color, which suits it perfectly.

Robert Oatley McLaren Vale Shiraz.jpg

Robert Oatley Shiraz

Made by one of Australia's most well-known winemakers, Robert Oatley Shiraz is one of our Best Picks. This wine was grown in the McLaren Vale, a region known for producing some of the country's best wines. This wine has notes of blueberry, spice, and plum, all flavors which work together to create a well-rounded wine representative of the softer Shiraz grown in cooler climates. Though it's medium-bodied and has incredibly soft tannins, this wine still has plenty of structure and is ready to drink now.

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