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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: International Varieties


The Grape

Syrah is an adaptable grape that has done well in a variety of climates, from warm to cool.

Syrah prefers gravelly, well-drained soil and good sun exposure. In some areas of France the vineyards are nothing but rocks, which absorb heat during the day and radiate it back at night.


The Wine

Syrahs tend to have moderate acidity and flavors of raspberry, blackberry and plum, and sometimes smoke, bacon, spice and anise notes.

It is a more intense, full-bodied varietal than Pinot Noir, in weight often comparable to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Much of it is made to be drunk early, but some Syrahs can age well.



Northern Rhône Valley, France

Syrah is at home in the precipitous hillside vineyards rising above northern sections...

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