Cambria Vineyard Manager Chris Hammell (left) and Winemaker Fred Holloway
Australian Shiraz (Syrah) is the next big thing
in red wine. It is only a matter of time
before it develops a large following in the U.S.
While we haven't had a California Syrah yet
that knocked our socks off, the grape is coming
on strong there, too.
Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher
The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine
The Rest of the Story
So how is Syrah doing compared to the competition?
To get an idea, we matched 16 Australian and
California Syrah (Shiraz) versus other Golden
State reds of the same price. Here are the winners,
listed in order of increasing price. The "winning margin"
is the winner's rating minus the loser's rating on
a zero to 100 scale.
The Winning Wine
Sutter Home Shiraz, California '98
Ironstone Vineyards Shiraz, Cal., '97
Buena Vista Zinfandel, Cal., '97
Chateau Julien Merlot, Monterey, '97
Shenandoah Vnyds., Cabernet Sauvignon,
Amador County, '96
Hope Estate Shiraz Hunter Valley Australia
Flora Springs Sangiovese, Napa Valley,
Rosenblum Dry Creek Zinfandel, Rockpile
Field Stone Sangiovese, North Coast, '97
Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Shiraz,
Concannon Assemblage Red Livermore Valley,
Cambria Syrah, Santa Maria Valley, Tepusquet
Vineyard, '97 (pictured)
Cambria Syrah (another bottle of the above
wine in a different matchup)
Rosemount Mountain Blue Shiraz Australia,
Peju Province Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
Gary Farrell Encounter, Pine Mountain, Sonoma
Syrah-Shiraz won seven matches while other California
varietals won nine.
Half of the Australian Shiraz entries won their
matches, while only 40% of the California
Syrah is nicely competitive; Australia is a bit ahead of California. It'll
be fun to try the new releases the next few
years. In fact, I have a Shiraz coming from the
emerging Carramar Estate Australian winery for
the next tasting. Stay tuned.