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Cold Climate Syrah vs. Warm Climate Syrah

Cold Climate Syrah vs. Warm Climate Syrah

Paso Robles, California a favorite among our wine club members

Syrah is a varietal from France’s celebrated Rhone region that is now grown all over the world, famously in Australia (where it is sometimes known as Shiraz), South Africa and Central California.

As with all wines, climate conditions strongly influence how grapes ripen which in turn changes how your wine tastes in the glass. Some wines, such as Pinot Noir, are known to do spectacularly well in a cooler climate, while others, such as Cabernet Sauvignon may prefer a bit more heat. By the way, winemakers love large day to night temperature swings, as it increases the acid in the grapes.

Syrah is interesting because it does very well in both cool and warm climates, resulting in two distinct styles.

In a cooler climate, like the Northern Rhone or the Sonoma Coast, Syrah grapes ripen more slowly, allowing for longer “hang time” and greater acid development. This can result in a lower-alcohol, more feminine style, elegant, perfume-y, with mesmerizing aromatics, an acidic backbone, and a touch of pepper.

In warm climates, like parts of Paso Robles or inland Santa Barbara County, heat allows grapes to ripen quickly, with higher sugar levels and lower acidity. This often results in darker berry flavors, like blackberry, and a fruitier, softer personality.

Not sure what your favorite is? Explore your palate and try both cold climate syrah and warm climate syrah styles side by side to taste their differences. Our wine store is stocked with a variety of handcrafted Syrahs for you to choose from.

Discover more great wine with The California Wine Club. Every wine featured in our wine of the month club comes from a real-working winery.

Come join our adventure!

4 Responses

  1. Belinda Morandin says:

    This is great Jonathan, I’m a SHIRAZ grower and winemaker in Australia, our best and most famous Red at the moment.
    This blog also has a video, so you don’t even have to read it.. Thank you, very close to my heart!

  2. Julian Park says:

    British Columbia makes some world class Syrah’s too.

    • Karen D says:

      Thanks, Julian! Do you have any favorites? We have an a club level that features International wines and we would love to consider them. Cheers!

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