Known in France as Syrah, this varietal is one of the predominant grapes grown in the Rhone Valley. In the Northern Rhone it is usually left on its own, but in the south it is blended with Grenache and other grapes to add fruit and softness. The best versions from France are a deep purple/red color, have rich blackberry and raspberry flavors, and notes of pepper, tobacco, and bacon fat (yum!).
In Australia, this varietal is better known as Shiraz. This warmer climate emphasizes the bold, jammy, fruit flavors of the wine and can bring notes of chocolate and espresso to the nose.
Food pairing: Grilled beef, lamb, hard cheeses
Pronunciation: sih-RAH, shuh RAAZ