Originating in France, Syrah has made it’s way around the world to wine regions in Washington, New Zealand, Italy and beyond. In Australia, the grape has been adopted as its signature red under the moniker Shiraz.
But no matter what you call what’s in your glass, there’s a Syrah or Shiraz for every drinker.
Seppeltsfield 2018 Shiraz (Barossa Valley); $22, 94 points. All the hallmarks of Barossa Shiraz are here without much fuss. A heady, fruity nose of cherry and currant ride a wave of baking spice, mocha, furniture polish and earthy, mineral tones. The tannins are powerful but fine and nicely textured. There’s also enough polish here for a bit of cellaring. Drink now–2025. Legend Imports. Editors’ Choice. —Christina Pickard
Yangarra 2018 King’s Wood Shiraz (McLaren Vale); $55, 94 points. This vintage of single-block, biodynamically grown Shiraz is more textbook than the cooler 2017. While it lacks the sexiness of ’17, it still offers more restraint and elegance than many of its South Aussie counterparts. An aromatic lift of tangy blueberry, raspberry and plum fruit interlaces gentle baking spice, ground pepper and terra-cotta notes. There’s muscle to the highly textural tannins (both chalky and granular), but it’s woven into layers of flavor. A charming yet serious wine for drinking now until 2030. Jackson Family Wines —C.P.
Emmanuel Darnaud 2018 Les Troix Chênes (Crozes-Hermitage); $40, 93 points. Voluminous yet fresh, this full-bodied Syrah highlights ripe, perfumed plum and blackberry flavors shaded by graphite, cedar and crushed peppercorns. Matured in a mix of concrete and large-format oak barrels, it’s a supple, pure fruited red edged by fine, silky tannins and a spicy licorice finish. It drinks beautifully in youth but should hold through 2028. Fruit of the Vines, Inc. Editors’ Choice. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Isole e Olena 2016 Collezione Privata Syrah (Toscana); $61, 93 points. Aromas of underbrush, blackberry, ground pepper, blue flowers and mocha emerge from the glass. Elegantly structured, the velvety palate offers blackberry compote, fleshy black cherry, French oak and toasted nuts alongside smooth, enveloping tannins. It closes on notes of blood orange and coffee bean. Drink through 2026. Chambers & Chambers. —Kerin O’Keefe
Quady North 2017 4-2,A Syrah (Rogue Valley); $25, 93 points. A sensational value, this is a dark, aromatic and richly fruity wine, with potent flavors of roasted fruits and scorched earth. It avoids bitterness throughout a long finish, laced with anise and a hint of lemon. The power and balance are exceptional. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Scar of the Sea 2019 Rancho Sisquoc Syrah (Santa Maria Valley); $28, 93 points. Fresh aromas of black raspberry, violet and wisteria get sprinkled with white pepper and wet earth on the nose of this bottling from a historic vineyard deep in the valley. Buoyant acidity and sandy tannins frame the sip, where blueberry and lavender flavors stay fun and fresh. —Matt Kettmann
Te Awanga 2017 Mister Syrah (Hawke’s Bay); $22, 93 points. The color of rose petals, this is a refreshingly lightweight, accessible Syrah that clocks in at just 11.5% alcohol. Aromas are bouncy and fresh: rhubarb and cranberry, savory herbal and floral notes and a slight roasted, charred quality. The palate is medium in weight, with a savory streak amid crunchy, silky fruit and soft but structured tannins. There’s a medicinal bite to the finish. An autumnal wine for drinking now. LeVecke. Editors’ Choice. —C.P.
Yannick Alléno & Michel Chapoutier 2018 Croix de Chabot (Saint-Joseph); $38, 93 points. Shards of iron and black pepper juxtapose powerfully ripe black-plum and mulberry flavors in this inky Syrah. It’s a deeply extracted expression of Saint-Joseph but anchored neatly by bristling acidity and fine, supple tannins. At peak now–2028. Sera Wine Imports. Editors’ Choice. —A.I.
Savage Grace 2019 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah (Yakima Valley); $42, 92 points. In this producer’s trademark style, this wine is released young, with no new oak contact. Flower, tobacco, dried herb and dark cherry aromas are followed by lighter-styled flavors that still bring intensity. Purity is the purpose. Pair it with grilled lamb chops. Editors’ Choice. —Sean P. Sullivan
One Leaf 2018 Shiraz (California); $10, 90 points. This robust and mouthcoating wine offers generous black fruits, hints of white and black pepper and a firm but rich texture. It flirts with a gamy, earthy character for added complexity that’s rare in a wine this affordable. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon