The answer is two are alike and one is very different.
Syrah is considered one of France’s “noble” varieties because of its ability to produce serious red wines capable of aging for decades. France’s best Syrahs come from the steep slopes in eastern France’s Northern Rhone. California has some great ones out of Sonoma, Napa and the warmer parts of the Central Coast.
Shiraz is an identical variety to France’s Syrah. The Aussie’s simply renamed it and laid claim to it!
Syrah/Shiraz is noted by dark fruitiness such as blackberries or plums and a peppery quality. As with all wine, styles vary on producer, place and climate. If in doubt, pick one from a warmer climate since Syrah needs warmth to fully ripen.
Petite Sirah is actually a variety called Durif. It’s a blender (not great on it’s own). It has deep-color, nice tannins, gives ‘backbone’ (heft) to a blend, but is not very flavorful. It’s a particularly good blending partner for Zinfandel which is what we’ve done for our 2013 Stark Wild release. We also threw in some Grenache for good measure!
A few weeks ago, I poured Stark Wine at the Rhone Rangers (not to be confused with the Lone Ranger) first ever New York City event at City Winery. Even though it was during the freak blizzard on November 7, I was thrilled to see so many New Yorkers turn out to taste 155 different Rhone Rangers wines.
So who are these masked winemakers?
The Rhone Rangers are a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. The Rhone Valley is located in Eastern France and permits the growth and winemaking of 22 grape varieties. 12 of these grapes are planted in the United States – including most popular Syrah and Voignier. Others that most wine lovers have heard of are: Mourvedre, Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne. More obscure but delicious are Counoise, Cinsaut, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul.
Stark Wine qualifies as a member with wines made of Syrah, Viognier, Grenache, and Grenache Blanc. This harvest, Stark Wine also got it’s hands on some Counoise.
Check out http://www.rhonerangers.org.
Vino Vac the best ever wine accessory!
I am writing on this topic today because I learned that a good friend had never heard of it. She was expressing that synthetic corks never fit back into the half-drank bottle. I wondered why she would do that because I thought everyone either: a) knows about Vino Vac b) generally polishes off the bottle in one evening.
In all seriousness, my husband and I strive to only drink a half-bottle on weeknights to avoid liver damage and unwanted calories.
Vino Vac preserves wine by removing the air from the bottle. This little pump comes with a couple of grey stoppers. Simply insert the stopper into the bottle and pump the air out. Voila! Fresh wine the next day. For best results, stick the bottle into the fridge to further preserve.
Log onto Amazon to order one, http://www.amazon.com/Vacu-Vin-3-Piece-Saver-Stopper/dp/B00004SAF4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337359856&sr=8-2. Only $12.79.