Posts Tagged ‘ Syrah ’

Shiraz or Syrah; what’s in a name?


Good question! Basically they are the same grape varietal, genetically, but the flavor profiles are quite different because of the different climates, terriors and wine making techniques. The Australians call it Shiraz  while Americans and French call the varietal Syrah.
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Now to the flavor profiles:
French Syrah is planted in the Rhone region, which is divided into 2 halves; the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. Northern Rhone wines are made primarily from Syrah grapes and can command a hefty  price e.g. Hermitage. The wines are tannic and leathery with spice and pepper over tones. Generally these wines take a longer time to age than Southern Rhone wines.

Southern Rhone wines are generally made with more Grenache than Syrah but produce wines that mature earlier than Northern Rhone wines. Here we have the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cote-du-Rhone wines. Southern Rhone wines are mellower with some spice overtones.

Australian Shiraz is famous in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas. Their wines are rich with fruit and very smooth. Many times these wines are even blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added aging and complexity. The Barossa Valley produces Shiraz with big fruit and chocolate overtones.

California Syrah-Enter the famous Rhone Zone of California. Here we have producers that produce Rhone style wines with earth, spice and pepper overtones. Some notable areas are :Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County, leading the way in production. Some winemakers swear the climate of Paso Robles mimics the southern Rhone area of France. A few California Rhone producers have cult status and command a hefty price. Examples include: Saxum, Sine Qua Non Syrah and Alban Syrah Edna Valley.

My favorite Syrah/Shiraz picks ( somewhat affordable):

  • Carlisle Syrah Russian River Valley 2007  About $50 (if you can find it)
  • Qupe Syrah 2007  A classic Syrah for under $20. A great value
  • Two Hand’s Bellas Garden Barossa Valley 2007 Classic Barrosa Valley. About $60. Treat yourself!

My favorite pairings:
Ausssie Shiraz with big fruit-BBQ
California style Syrah-lamb or grilled steak
French Rhone style Syrah with big spice- roast leg of lamb

Cheers! –Adrienne

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Cooking With Wine

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Blueberry Chutney Sauce Marinated Duck

“If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”
~ Julia Child

Cooking with wine dates back as far as written history tells us- Greek and Roman artifacts and books show their palates loved wine, and used it often in recipes. Along the way others might have possibly used a splash here or there, but it was mainly to disguise spoiled meats due to lack of refrigeration, especially during the Middle-ages and so on.

Today using wine in the professional kitchen reigns, so if you enjoy quality dining, and yourself cook at home, then why are you not using a quality splash of vino in your dishes? Discovering local New Jersey Blueberries, and the fact that the area also had a high volume of Asian Indian restaurants an idea was sparked- Blueberry Chutney.

Using Syrah/Shiraz as a great match for the blueberries to wild game meats and chocolate. Each time the price range was $20 to $30 dollars. Cooking with wine should never begin with ‘cooking wines and sherries’ due to their over salty’ness, and sometimes they cost more than regular wine per ounce.

Unless you just do not drink wine otherwise, and remember the alcohol cooks (or evaporates*) from the dish after ? minutes, so that equation is not an issue- purchasing a less expensive bottle is better than none. However most recipes only call for a splash (2 oz) and with the outside factor of white verses red, just open the bottle you have chosen for dinner, portion out the desired amount and then close up the bottle temporarily with VinAssure, a source for pumping the air out, and preserving it for the nights meal, or other occasions.

Cooking with wine enhances the flavor, and can heighten the experience of a fine meal with friends if paired well. There is such a simple method for making these decisions, so stayed tuned for a good primer with a discussion on wine/cooking interactions, choosing a cooking wine, marinating, deglazing and finishing, plus a handful of recipes!

Blueberry Chutney Components for a Syrah/Shiraz match- This recipe has a sweet to spicy, or earthy flavor that brings out flavors of wild game and chocolate desserts. It works both as a sauce, or marinade for meats. Too heavy for chicken/poultry, but works great with marinating duck for up to three hours, and then grilled, stove top searing, or oven baked in cast iron skillet topped off with brick and other HEAVY cast iron pots.

Dark Berry, Almost Black

Two Hands, Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley Shiraz
COLOUR
Deep and impenetrable, red to black.

AROMA
Lifted aromas of deep red fruits, plums, cinnamon, licorice and earthy spice. Underneath subtle notes of chocolate, tar and moss complete the bouquet.

PALATE
The wine is robust and rich with a balance that exemplifies the hallmarks of the finest Barossa vineyards. Red fruits and plums dominate a tight palate with earthy char and chocolate that then finishes long with fine tannins and bright acidity. Will drink well now and will improve with medium term cellaring.

*When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulfites disappear, leaving only the essence imparting a subtle flavor. Remember, if you do not like the taste of the wine you opened, then you might not want to use it in your dish- wine does however enhance the flavors of a dish, so simply ask friends or a retailer for ideas!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!