July 15, 2024

A heart-warming WINE that beckons you home – Shiraz

“Ah, Shiraz! What a town! The rose gardens, the nightingales. Paradise. You know, I got a hold of some wine while I was there. I’ll never forget that bouquet.” Julian cleared his throat. ” ‘Rose petals let us scatter and fill the cup with red wine, the firmaments let us shatter and come with a new design.’ ”― Marsha Mehran

Wine lust or wanderlust is travel that calls on our leisurely persona. I love to travel. Wine lovers, what’s your take on travel? No matter how much I love the visited destination, after a while, I find the urge to go back to my homely comforts getting stronger with each day that I am away. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s just how I am. I like to make my bed and sleep in it.

The month of July, though headed towards its final days, still seems to playing a cat and mouse game with us. One day she’s cold and the next she’s windy and just as you’re getting used to her, she offers you a warm feeling. So that’s not all we’ll remember July 2018 for. Tomorrow, the 30th of July, has been declared a public holiday as all Zimbabweans who have registered will be going to exercise their right to vote. It’s been a full month and I’m sure you’ll agree with me, a heart-warming wine may just be the answer to ‘letting loose.’ Allow yourself to be beckoned home, wine lovers, with a Shiraz.


Shiraz has never really been in my top five of grape loves. But, slowly, that’s changing. A few years back, during one of our wine travels with my good company, we met a ‘like-minded’ pair and the conversation naturally drifted to wine. Of interest, one of the pair declared she didn’t like Shiraz and only drank Syrah. Wine lovers, let’s iron out what she possibly meant.

The name Shiraz/Syrah is popularly used to identify a red grape varietal known for its exotic appeal and grown all over the world. To put this Shiraz/Syrah into perspective, Shiraz is more New World based, while Syrah, in the Old World. It’s a lover of warm climate and this answers to its widespread growth. One of it’s most interesting antics is the way it has the ability to surprise wine lovers, depending on weather it has been grown in cool or warm climate. It is in Australia, because of it’s domineering nature, where the name Shiraz was born and other countries like South Africa also refer to it by that. On the other hand, Syrah, which is classified the original, is grown in The Rhône Valley in France. What then does this whole Syrah/Shiraz mean, you might ask? Two different styles of wine are produced from Syrah and Shiraz and this is owed to the different climates and winemaking styles. But genetically speaking it is the same grape variety, popularly produced and bottled in both a single varietal wine and in blends, with the favoured Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Typical Shiraz

This is a New World classic, which is robust, fuller, riper and richer in fruit flavours. It is not stingy when poured in a glass. You get more than desired as each sip gives you more than the last with its layers of structure and complexity. Shiraz is also generously made in a sweet still and sparkling style with Australia having led this sweet discovery. South Africa has not been left out and the famous Cape Jazz Shiraz, a personal favourite, produced by Solms-Astor, comes to mind.

Bearing in mind the cooler climate the Old World has to contend with, Syrah is often lighter with notes of pepper and floral notes coming through. But what strikes me most of all, is a sauntering elegance embodied in Syrah. In The Rhône, a splash of Viognier (white grape variety) is commonly added to Syrah.

Kevin Arnold 2011 Shiraz – Lloyd Francis

This Waterford Estate wine is named after the Arnold’s son, Lloyd. This Shiraz backed me into a corner and weakened my general wine perspective on Shiraz. It’s deep and intruding floral and spice boldly announced the mercilessly dark and impeding earthy notes. Wow is the only word that got a chance to escape from my lips as the sweet illusion left me with a peppery sensation. This Shiraz is the epitome of a dark seduction of ripe fruit with a whiff and tease of pleasure. Thanks to Emma from Seapride, my love for wine is extending in the Shiraz direction. This wine is distributed locally by Seapride Foods.

Wine lovers, allow Shiraz to beckon you home with a heart-warming sip. Perhaps you’re a cool climate or even a warm climate wine lover, the fact remains, when it comes to Shiraz or Syrah, if you prefer, you’re genetically wine connected. Like Katinka van Niekerk and Brian Burke profess, “…We call it the ‘slutty wine’, complete with fish-net stockings…Shiraz is the ‘best stripper in town’. It bends over backwards to be accommodating and can often stay the night…” I might just agree to that. As the count down slowly approaches to the day of voting, it will have to be a glass of Shiraz to warm the heart and mind. Until next week wine lovers, peaceful voting and sensational Shiraz-ing.

About the writer: Lebbie is a qualified passion-filled Wine Consultant who spends quality time with wine through travel, study, wine chat and of course sipping on wines. This article first appeared in The Standard.

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