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Syrah / Shiraz Food Pairing: The Basics Plus



Looking for a great wine for your summer barbecues? That would be Shiraz. The tricky part about this wine is that it comes in two styles which means a great pairing will be slightly different between the two.


The first style is called Syrah and originates in France. This style has an elegant balance of acidity, tannin, and fruit. It is the more subtle style. The second style is called Shiraz and is a big bold, fruity wine produced in Australia.


These two styles of Syrah will point you to the best food pairings for these wines. As you might guess, the subtle style Syrah will pair best with more subtle seasonings and food preparations than the bolder Shiraz which pairs best will bold flavors and seasonings. Find out more about the differences between Syrah and Shiraz.


Syrah / Shiraz Taste Characteristics


The key in pairing food with wine is to consider the flavors, weight, and intensity of the wine. With that in mind, let’s look at the typical characteristics of Syrah and Shiraz.


Syrah is a medium-bodied, dry red wine with a medium amount of acidity and a high amount of tannin. It has black fruit notes of blackberry along with black pepper, and vanilla and clove from aging in oak barrels. This is the subtle version of Shiraz.


Shiraz has the same structure as Syrah with a medium-body, medium amount of acidity, and a high amount of tannin. The difference is that Shiraz has bolder fruit flavors and higher alcohol content. It has jammy black fruit notes of black cherry and licorice along with vanilla and clove from aging in oak barrels.



Syrah / Shiraz Food Pairing Matches


Once we’ve identified the wine characteristics the next step is to make two decisions for your meal. The first is to decide which meal base like lamb or steak will pair best. Then decide how that meat will be prepared and seasoned. This second step is the key to leveling up your pairing game.


With Syrah and Shiraz the meal base recommendations will be the same. The difference will come when considering the seasonings and preparation of the meat. Keep in mind that Shiraz is bolder than Syrah.


Layer 1: Meal Base

  • Red, fatty meat like lamb, steak, sausage, and burgers.

  • White meat like chicken, pork, and duck.

  • Syrah pairs best with roasted and braised meats.

  • Shiraz pairs best with grilled and smoked meats.

Layer 2: Seasonings & Sides

  • Roasted mushrooms, olives, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and eggplant.

  • Cooked collard greens and spinach.

  • Syrah pairs with mint, bay leaf, black pepper, red sauces and with dishes like roasted lamb, gyros, and burgers.

  • Shiraz pairs with rosemary, black pepper, red sauces and with dishes like BBQ ribs and sausage & peppers.



Syrah / Shiraz Food Pairing Clashes


Layer 1: Meal Base

  • Seafood such as fish, shrimp, lobster.

Layer 2: Seasonings & Sides

  • Lightly seasoned dishes like butter herb chicken.

  • Acidic sauces like lemon butter.

  • Uncooked leafy greens.














Syrah / Shiraz Food Pairing Summary


Since Shiraz is a bold fruity wine it pairs well with bold seasonings, flavors, and grilling preparations. Syrah is the lighter sibling and pairs best with a slightly lighter preparation like roasting and braising. Be careful not to pull back too far with Syrah because it can still handle full and complex flavors. Test out the matches and clashes to experience it for yourself. Bon Appetit!

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