After Australia flooded the U.S. market with inexpensive and uninteresting Shiraz, Syrah has been a tough sell with consumers.
Yet acreage and tonnage of Syrah continues to increase year after year. Last year, Washington winemakers harvested more than 20,000 tons of the red wine grape for the first time in state history.
There are two main reasons for this.
First of all, Syrah is an early ripening grape. Winemakers can bring it in before Labor Day, have it crushed and begin turning it into wine in their fermentation rooms while other varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre are still hanging on the vine.
Second of all, it’s a delicious blending grape often able to add midpalate heft and weight to a wine without adding to its tannin levels. Winemakers can often bevel out the harsh edges of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with just a bit of Syrah in the blend.
Here are 12 delicious Washington red blends that include Syrah. Ask for them to your favorite wine merchant or contact wineries directly.