Syrah wine is the most important varietal of the Northern Rhône Valley. Syrah is quickly becoming one of the more notable grapes in America too. Syrah wines display a spicy blend of black pepper and raspberry aromas. They are full-bodied, with dark fruit, smoke and tar flavors, and plentiful tannins. While Syrah can be lovely alone (as in the northern Rhône), it blends well too, as in the Southern Rhône and California-based "Rhône Rangers" wines.
In Australia (where it is the most-planted red variety) and South Africa, the Syrah grape is known as Shiraz. When grown in Australia, the grape is typically sweeter and riper than elsewhere, with more chocolaty notes than pepper and spices. While Rhône Syrahs lend themselves best to red meats, casseroles and grills, the Aussie interpretations hold their own better with poultry (especially duck) and both red and white meats.