While we all begin to dust off our grills for the beginning of summer, don’t forget the wine! There are many reasons to drink white wine in the summer but what about red? In fact, one of our favorite red wines to drink, Shiraz/Syrah, happens to be the perfect grilling companion.
Shiraz/Syrah is a major grape that is grown all over the world. The best examples come from two different countries with different styles of growing the grapes and, because of that, they produce two different styles of wine. France, specifically the Rhone Valley, is the where the grape is considered its best in the old world style. It is primarily used as a secondary blending grape in Southern Rhone in communes like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas with Grenache being the star. In Northern Rhone, however, Syrah is the star, producing delicious, meaty, dark cherry infused wines. The words Cote Rotie, which mean roasted slope, will send shivers down a lot of wine drinkers’ backs. These Northern regions are very small and produce expensive, hard to find wine. Some of the producers to look out for are E. Guigal and Chapoutier who produce delicious wines from all over the region.
Moving on to the land down under, we find Shiraz, which is the same grape as Syrah and it’s not for certain how the name came to be different, but the wine is distinct. Unlike Syrah in France, where bottlings of 100% Syrah will cost you an arm and a leg, Shiraz is more widely planted and grows easily in Australia. In fact, it almost grows too well with a lot of the wines being monstrously big, jammy, spicy fruit bombs. It is common for wines from all over Australia to be 14% ABV. That being said, they can be absolutely delicious. To address the elephant in the room or in this case the kangaroo, Yellowtail is one of the biggest brands in the world and the best selling international brand in the United States. They also are responsible for making Shiraz popular over here. We recommend you try any bottlings from Penfold’s from their basic bottlings of Shiraz to the Penfold Grange, a wine so good that the 2008 vintage got a perfect score from two separate wine magazines and was the first new world wine to do so. Mollydooker, with their Popeye’s art style labels, also makes an incredible and affordable Shiraz, so try to grab a bottle of The Boxer to enjoy.
You may be wondering, “Why is this a summer wine?” The answer is because it pairs well with grilled food. Ribs, burgers, hot dogs and steaks all benefit from having some Syrah or Shiraz poured next them. Shiraz from Australia and Syrah from France both can be big and bold, and both definitely can have the structure to to stand up to huge pieces of grilled meat. Syrah tends to be on the more expensive side of things while Shiraz is easily accessible for most people.
We recommend grilling with some Yellow Tail Shiraz in your marinade and your sangria, and Mollydooker in your glass. Cheers to summer finally being here! It’s time to get ready to drink some good wine.