Western Australia's most well-known wine writer, Ray Jordan, reviews our 2017 Hazel's Vineyard Syrah and explains his love for shiraz and how syrah is differentiated from shiraz. The below article and review was published in Ray's Cellar Talk column in the West Australian newspaper Thursday, August 29, 2019.
"I love shiraz. Big bold Barossa shiraz, for instance, remains a favourite. But I also like syrah. Elegant and highly perfumed. They are the same variety, but they are poles apart in style and body.
In recent years, more wines from this variety are using the synonym to differentiate from the bigger, full bodies traditional Australian shiraz, of which the Barossa is an obvious, but not the only example. Syrah is the preferred term in France and the US, for instance.
In the main it gets down to where the grapes are grown. Warm to hot viticultural areas produce riper and intensely flavoured grapes that suit the bolder more full-bodies styles. Cooler areas, such as the Yarra, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania, produce grapes that are more conducive to the less-alcoholic, elegant styles.
Then there are regions, such as Frankland, Mt Barker and even Margaret River, which can produce either style depending on vintage, viticultural and winemaking approach.
While you can argue that if it's shiraz, call it shiraz in Australia, the naming convention helps the consumer understand the style of wine they are buying.
And a cool-climate, lighter syrah doesn't mean it is under-ripe or lean. These wines are quite beautiful with full-ripe flavours expressed with beautiful refinement and understatement ... "
"Highly perfumed and aromatic. It has intensity and prettiness. Focus has been on spiciness and perfume with a touch of pepper. This has a small amount of roussanne. It is co-fermented, which contributes to the balance and tannin structure. Brilliant colour and vibrancy. It has so much energy and life in the palate with its excellent texture and structure. Picked earlier to get the perfume. Comes from a rocky part of the vineyard. Unfiltered and unfined. 94/100"