A Wine Lover’s View Of The Red Sangiovese And Syrah Grapes

The red Sangiovese grape probably originated in the Tuscany region of central Italy where it was already well known in the Sixteenth Century. By the Nineteenth Century Sangiovese had spread widely throughout Italy. It is the most widely grown grape in Italy. It is also grown in Argentina, Australia, and the United States, especially California.

Sangiovese is a rather difficult grape to raise. It is relatively thin skinned and rots easily. It has a light-colored, medium-sweet, slightly bitter juice. The resulting wine has a moderate alcohol and high acid level, with strong tannins, and a dry, earthy, full-flavored taste. The actual wine quality depends on the clone used. Sangiovese is the major component of Chianti wines, usually making up 75% -90% of the blend, with lesser grapes such as Canaiolo and Trebbiano providing the rest. The world-famous Super Tuscan wines are often blends of Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux red grapes. Another famous Sangiovese-based wine is Brunello di Montalcino of southern Tuscany.

Sangiovese is a food friendly wine. It goes well with Moussaka, Pasta in a Tomato sauce, and Pizza.

Syrah is thought to have originated in the northern part of the Rhone Valley of eastern France, where it has been known since the Twelfth Century. Today it is the only red grape planted in the northern Rhone Valley. It is also grown in Argentina, South Africa and California, and is the signature red grape of Australia where it is known as Shiraz.

Syrah is a major component of the famous Rhone Valley wines of Hermitage, Cote Rotie, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Its bouquet usually includes white or black pepper, mulberries and blackcurrants, perhaps with a touch of tar. Its taste also includes tannin and oak as well as those aromas. Syrah ages well. Its richness, acidity, and fruitiness vary considerably according to the climate and the winemaker’s art. Over the years many Australian winemakers have moved to a lighter-style Syrah wine. Syrah is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Mourvedre and Grenache. It can produce a sparkling red wine and fortified wines that resemble port.

Syrah pairs well with Pizza, Pasta, Game, Duck and grilled and roasted red meats in general. Suggestions for Australian Shiraz include Barbecued Beef Ribs, Couscous, Hamburger, Roast Duck and Turkey, and Steak.

Over the years I have reviewed far too many Sangioveses and Syrahs to count. And I did so in a wide range of prices.

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