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Merino Syrah 2014
Recommended pairings include lamb or herb-based sauces.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Part of the Coquimbo region and a key location for pisco production, the Limari Valley is one of the northern most wine producing regions of Chile. The other two, also part of Coquimbo, are the Elqui and less-developed Choapa Valleys. While more vineyard area is dedicated to pisco production (via the grapes of Muscat of Alexandria, Pedro Jimenez, Moscatel de Asturia and Torontel), the acreage under vine for still wine production has increased. The intense sunlight in the Limari Valley, coupled with little rainfall as well as the cooling effect of the Humboldt Current from the Pacifc Ocean, all make the area ideal for cool climate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot noir.
Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.
In the Glass
Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.
Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.