Spice and smoke: why Syrah is the ultimate autumn drop

C&B out for an autumn stroll

C&B out for an autumn stroll

Crunchy leaves, crisp mornings, and a wisp of smoke in the air; autumn is C&B’s favourite time of year.  

There’s one grape variety that we reach for when the leaves start to turn and that’s Syrah, or Shiraz as it’s known down under.

Syrah’s origin is hotly debated among wine nerds, with Syracuse in Sicily, Shiraz in ancient Persia and the Rhone valley all mooted possibilities. Thanks to DNA research, science has identified two obscure southeastern French grape varieties as the probable parents of Syrah (but what do scientists know? Will still prefers the romantic idea that it’s from Persia…).

The most famous examples come from the Northern Rhone, where wines are made purely from Syrah. These wines, such as Hermitage or Cote Rotie, can be very expensive and need time in bottle to fully develop. The wines are peppery and herbal with fresh blackberry notes.

In the Southern Rhone, you’re most likely to find Syrah in blends with partners like Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan, all of which are juicy and brambly grapes that are perfect partners to Syrah’s spicy structure. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, Shiraz produces brooding and full bodied wines. Be careful about the region. Avoid bottles labelled “South Eastern Australia” (an area that’s roughly the same size of Spain and France combined) and instead go for something from the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale. These regions produce concentrated, fruit-driven crowd pleasers, perfect for a night round the fire.

Whatever your preferred style - light and peppery or big and boozy - Syrah/Shiraz covers it all. Below are our top three.

If you'd like to order any of these wines, email me jo@clementandblack.com. We'll do 5% off a mixed six, 10% off a mixed dozen. Free delivery on orders 12 bottles and over.

Catch you soon

Jo x 


Maison les Alexandrins Crozes Hermitage

This wine is full of ripe black cherry and blackberries, with the hint of smoke that makes it perfect for this time of year.


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Jester McLaren Vale Shiraz

A true Australian crowd pleaser, Jester Shiraz is always a hit at tastings. Deep in colour, with bright black fruits, spicy and a savoury twist on the finish.


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Trinity Hill Syrah

A lighter version from New Zealand, we’re impressed with this wine every time we taste it. Delicious and a total bargain.