Expressions of Syrah: Old World and New


Expressions of Syrah: Old World and New

Wine Team New York |

The mighty Syrah grape is best known for its bold, meaty, savoriness, evoking notes you might associate with the old American West: campfire smoke, grilled meat, leather, tobacco. In the hands of great producers, from some of the world’s greatest terroirs, Syrah can also achieve claret-like grace and profound dark fruit sophistication, rivaling Bordeaux’s First Growths in quality.

The Sotheby’s Wine selection below gathers preeminent expressions from Northern Rhône, Australia, and California to showcase this evocative variety at its very best.

Any discussion of Syrah has to begin in the Old World – specifically the northern half of the Rhône Valley, a hilly, windy region where the grape’s most iconic bottlings have historically hailed from. One of Guigal’s legendary single-vineyard “La La” cuvées, the 2013 La Mouline is from Côte-Rôtie’s oldest vineyard, where light soils and vines 70 to 90 years in age produced a voluptuously concentrated, cashmere-soft blockbuster.

A benchmark of Hermitage, Jaboulet’s intensely mineral La Chapelle is the estate’s most famous wine and an ultimate collectible, while the 2016 Vin Des Amis is the sleeper hit of Cornas, an earthy, spicy blend from the traditionalist house of Domaine Auguste Clape.

New World expressions of Syrah (also known as Shiraz) shine brilliantly in Australia, where warm weather and oak maturation produce some of the world’s biggest, richest reds from this grape. Few better deals exist than the 2018 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz – a blend that’s a tribute to the velvety depth of Barossa Valley bottlings.

In California, winemakers take inspiration from the great Rhône masters while channeling the sunny charm and cool-climate balance of the West Coast. Piedrasassi’s 2019 bottling, crafted by star winemaker Sashi Moorman, comes off the best two blocks of the biodynamically farmed Bien Nacido Vineyard.

Ruggedly powerful yet elegant, Syrah captures both sides of the soul – a versatile grape that’s endlessly fun to explore.

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