Shiraz Vs Syrah

Shiraz Vs Syrah – What’s the Difference?
By Austin Rafter

As if ordering and tasting wine at your favorite restaurant isn’t anxiety-provoking enough, many wine drinkers still haven’t the slightest idea what the difference is between Shiraz and Syrah.

Let me tell you: They both are made from the same grape. The Syrah grape.

If all the past confusion about your favorite red wine has now got you into a heated tizzy, you can set your blame on James Bubsy, a young British Viniculturist who settled in New South Wales, Australia, in the early 1830’s. With him, he brought vines of the Syrah plant from France, intent on planting them in the fertile soil of the land down under.

In Busby’s book, Journal of a Recent Visit to the Principal Vineyards of Spain and France,” published in 1833, he references the book “Oenologie Francaise,” stating, “… The name of this grape is spelt Scyras; and it is stated that, according to the tradition of the neighbourhood, the plant was originally brought from Shiraz in Persia, by one of the hermits of the mountain.”

That the Syrah grape was brought to France from Persia, however, is just legend.

In 1999, when Dr. Carole Meredith, head of Viniculture and Enology at The University of California, Davis, performed DNA testing on the Syrah grape, she proved that it is actually a genetic mix of two different grape varieties: Dureza, a dark-skinned grape, and the Mondeuse Blanche, a white-skinned grape, both hailing from the Northern Rhone Valley in the southeast of France. They found no genetic linkage to Persia.

Syrah was becoming the dominating grape variety in Australia, and it wasn’t long before it became referred to as its name of supposed historical origin, based on the books Busby was publishing in Australia at the time regarding viniculture and winemaking. One likely reason was to differentiate it from the French wines which the grape bears its original geography but differs greatly concerning flavor and body when grown in the Southern Hemisphere.

A major part of this difference is due to Australia’s warm climate. Shiraz wines give way to intensely deep, bold, fruity flavors, quite different from the traditional French Syrah wines which have a much drier and lighter body. This designation has come in handy since Syrah is now grown all over the world. You might find a California winery that produces Syrah and Shiraz. Both grapes are grown and treated differently to express the flavors of the traditional French Syrahs and the more modern Australian styles.

Now, you may be wondering, “What the heck, then, is Petite Sirah?”

Do the Aussies call it “Petite Shiraz?” Why isn’t it called Syrah?

The creator of what those outside of France call Petite Sirah, was a French Nurseryman named Dr. Francoise Durif, who was trying to breed Syrah grapes with the Peloursin variety to create a grape that would be resistant to mildew. What was born was a grape he named after himself: The Durif grape.

While this grape is hardly grown anymore in France, it’s grown frequently in Canada, The United States, and Australia. It become known as Petite Sirah after a Californian vintner in the late 1800’s renamed it after noticing it was a much less vigorous plant than its relatives. Ironically, Petite Sirah tends to be even bolder and more full bodied than Syrah or Shiraz.

Now that you’re armed with the understanding of the difference between Shiraz and Syrah, I think it’s time to head to the local wine shop to strut your expertise!

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Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc
By Roxanne L Sisneros

Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage, meaning wild and blanc, meaning white due to its early origins in South West France. These grapes produce a crisp, dry, and refreshing white wine.

It’s long been used to make world-class wines from Bordeaux. it has become an everyday favorite thanks to wine makers of New Zealand.In North America, California is the leading producer of Sauvignon blanc.

Depending on the climate, the flavor can range from grassy to tropical. In cooler climates, the grape has a tendency to produce wines with acidity and flavors of grass with some tropical fruit and floral notes. In warmer climates, it can develop more tropical fruit notes. “Grassy” flavors in this wine are more prominent in some grape varieties than others.

This grape variety vine buds late but ripens early, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates when not exposed to high heat. In warm regions such as South Africa, Australia and California, the grape is happier in cooler climate. the grape will quickly become over-ripe and produce wines with dull flavors and flat acidity.

Sauvignon blanc was one of the first elegant wines to be bottled with a screw cap in commercial quantities. The wine is usually consumed young, as it does not particularly benefit from aging.

Wine experts have used the phrase “crisp, elegant, and fresh” as a likely description of this fine wine,

When slightly chilled,it pairs well with fish or cheese. It is also known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi.

The primary fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. Depending on how ripe the grapes are when the flavor will range from zesty lime to flowery peach. What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines are its other herbaceous flavors like bell pepper, jalape�o, gooseberry and grass.

Food Pairings with Sauvignon Blanc

Wine experts have used the phrase “crisp, elegant, and fresh” as a favorable description of Sauvignon blanc. It pairs well with fish or cheese. It is known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi. This white wine pairs well with white meats, such as fish, shellfish, chicken and pork.

The wine pairs well with similar green herbs such as parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro or mint.

Sauvignon Blanc with Salmon

This flavorful wine can be difficult to pair. It has a grassy and lemony flavor on its own. It’s a good pairing with fish like salmon.

Please visit my blog “Fine Wines Worthy of Your Wine Cellar” at

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Bordeaux Wines

Wines From Bordeaux, France
By Roxanne L Sisneros

Wineries all over the world aspire to making wines in a Bordeaux style

What is Bordeaux wine?

Bordeaux (“Bore-doe”) refers to a wine from Bordeaux, France. Over 90% of Bordeaux wines are red wines made with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec

Bordeaux is one of France’s most important wine-producing regions. The Dutch drained the marshes of the Medoc in the 17th century. The climate is as humid as it was when the land was covered in marshes instead of vineyards, leading to a variety of problems, such as rot and mildew

Red Bordeaux Primary Flavors: Black Currant, Plum, Graphite, Cedar, Violet.

Bordeaux reds are medium to full bodied with bold aromas of black currant and plums. Depending on the region where the Bordeaux wine is from, fruit flavors range from more tart fruit to sweeter ripe fruit.

As with the reds, white Bordeaux wines are usually blends of S�million and a smaller proportion of Sauvignon blanc. Other permitted grape varieties are Sauvignon gris, Ugni blanc, Colombard, Merlot blanc, Ondenc and Mauzac.

Here’s what to know about serving this wine:

Best served just slightly below room temperature (around 65 �F / 18 �C).

It’s always a great idea to decant red Bordeaux wines.

Store Bordeaux and all your red wines below 65 �F / 18 �C.

A decent vintage and solid producer (around $25+) will easily age for 15 years.

Pairing Food with Bordeaux Wine


Black Pepper Steak, Roast Pork, Filet Mignon, Beef Brisket, Buffalo Burgers, Chicken Liver, Pot Roast, Venison, Duck, Goose, Dark Meat Turkey


Basque Cheeses, Swiss Cheese, White Cheddar, Provolone, Pepper Jack


Black Pepper, White Pepper, Oregano, Rosemary, Mustard Seed, Cumin, Coriander Seed


Roast Potatoes, Lentils, Mushrooms, Onion, Green Onion, Green Bean Casserole, Chestnut

Climate and geography

The major reason for the success of wine making in the Bordeaux region is an excellent environment for growing vines.

In Bordeaux the concept of terroir plays a role in wine production with the top estates aiming to make terroir driven wines that reflect the place they are from, often from grapes collected from a single vineyard. Remember that the right bank is dominated by Merlot and the left bank is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.

Buying Bordeaux

Buying Bordeaux can be an intimidating experience. French wine labels steer clear of grapes and focus on geography.

Bordeaux has ruled the world of wine for three centuries and it will continue to influence consumer trends and the future of wines for years to come.

Please visit my blog “Fine Wines Worthy of Your Wine Cellar” at

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Pinot Noir

A Comprehensive Guide to Pinot Noir Wine
By Alfred Ardis

In the world of wines, Pinot Noir is a top contender. This variety is striking for its flavor and ability to pair with virtually any type of food. Known as an ancient grape of France, Cistercian monks grew this fruit in their monasteries in Burgundy.

Regions of Origin

Pinot Noir comes from grapes grown in a variety of regions. France boasts the most vineyards with over 75,000 acres. The United States comes in at a close second. Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa are also countries that grow these grapes. Dijon, France, is the most famous location that produces this wine.

Taste Details

Many connoisseurs consider Pinot Noir to be a fickle wine with a great flavor range. Both vintage and growing location have a significant impact on flavor.

– Grapes grown in France usually have a light flavor and color. People may describe this taste as having floral and sweet undertones.

– In Germany, the wine produced has an earthy flavor with touches of cherry and raspberry.

– Italian Pinot comes from vineyards located in this country’s cooler climate. Although these varieties still have a fruitiness, they also have other distinctive flavors such as clove, white pepper, and tobacco. Italians like to boast that their product has a higher alcohol content.

– The wine produced in California is bolder and fruitier. Vineyards offer interesting flavors such as black raspberry, black cherry, and caramel. In Oregon, the product tends to have a lighter color and a tart flavor.

– New Zealanders are proud of their spicy and rich grapes that create a strong wine. The Australian variety is similar to the New Zealand one; however, it tends to be a bit sweeter.

– South American wine resembles that of the product produced by the United States. However, it often has more of a floral undertone than a fruity one.

Growing Details

The grapes used to produce Pinot Noir are difficult to grow. They have thin skins, and they tend to ripen early in the season. Farmers must care for this fruit attentively to ensure that it thrives. It’s only with precise climate and patient tending that these grapes will grow well. For optimal growth, plants need cool temperatures, plenty of spacing between vines, and sandy soil. Plants grown in warm areas usually produce grapes that are milder in both flavor and color. A number of diseases can plague this fruit. This plant is also susceptible to point mutations. It’s typical to find vines with unique shoots that do not resemble any other ones existing on the same plant. A farmer might capitalize on this type of mutation by using it to propagate new plants.

Pinot Noir is commonly known by a variety of names. Other names include Franc Pineau, Salvagnin, Morillon, Pineau de Bourgoyne, and Auvernat. Different countries have different names for the wine.

Although the color of this product tends to be pale despite cool growing conditions, the flavor is anything but mild.

For more information on Pinot Noir, visit

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Romance Strawberries Champagne Glasses

Who Could Possibly Turn Down a Glass of Bubbles?
By Deborah Carpenter

Geographically limited to a town in France, Champagne is unable to be manufactured or produced in any other location in the world other than Champagne itself. Similar to the Italian equivalent Prosecco, this means it has an element of speciality to it unlike other sparkling wines. But who exactly created Champagne? Dom Perignon himself of course! A monk in the 17th century, he created Champagne wine which was soon popularised by King Louis XIV, who loved it so much.

But the drink created by Dom Perignon was a light red wine without the special fizz that is so widely associated with it today. It wasn’t until the French, in the 18th Century, decided that bubbles were actually good for your health that they were introduced to create the effervescent drink. Today, the Dom Perignon brand is a vintage form of Champagne, with rare bottles being considered as collectors’ items, and sold for over �1000 each! There are other far more affordable brands from the Champagne region, such as Mo�t & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

It is estimated that the popular sparkling wine we have today can hold up to approximately 49 million bubbles in a 750ml bottle – that’s a lot of bubbles! This amount of bubbles means Champagne has three times the gas than beer, and the cork can reach speeds up to 40mph if it isn’t popped correctly and safely! So be careful when you’re cracking open your new bottle of Champagne!

So how do we drink our beloved beverage? There are traditionally two types of Champagne glasses, the flute and the coupe glass! Legend has it that the coupe was modelled on Marie Antoinette’s breast shape, as an ode to her love of the drink. Although there’s no evidence of this, it’s still a romantic idea of the decadence associated with the bubbly drink.

In reality, the bowl type glass was created in England in the 17th Century and then taken to France. It is with this style of glass that makes it possible to create incredible towering glass fountains which look stunning at glamorous events and weddings.

In recent years, the flute glass has become the glass associated with Champagne for its ability to keep the drink cold and bubbling for as long as possible. Loved globally for its light, refreshing taste and exciting fizz, the flute has been designed with scientific reasoning to ensure the drink is enjoyed to its maximum capability. For example, the bubble trains, called ‘collerettes’, keep darting up the side of your glass whilst you drink your Champagne because the flute glass is shaped in a specific way. As it thins out towards the top of the glass, the reduced surface area retains the carbonation process of the bubbles for longer! The lengthy stem of the glass is also designed specifically to be held in order for the temperature of the drink to remain unaffected by those holding it. In extreme cases of etiquette, only the base of the glass will be touched.

You can choose from a selection of Champagne gift hampers and glassware over at Smart Gift Solutions, many of which can be personalised to suit any occasion and to create the perfect keepsake gift.

For an amazing range of unique champagne gifts to celebrate any special occasion visit Smart Gift Solutions… with next day delivery, including Saturday, and International delivery options together with lots of free add-ons such as printed ribbon and photo cards… let us help solve your gift dilemmas!

For all enquiries you can send an email or give us a call…
t: 0870 609 3448

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