Shiraz in the Cellar

Is it Syrah or Shiraz?

 There are many synonyms for Shiraz:

Schiras, Sirac, Syra, Syrac, Sirah, Hignin Noir, Candive, Entournerein, Antourenein Noir, Seréne, Serenne, Sereine, Serine, Marsanne Noir (France) Shiraz (Australia and South Africa) Balsamina (Argentina) are all names associated with the name Shiraz.

Although both Shiraz and Syrah are used in South Africa, this gives no clear indication of the style.

Shiraz is known to produce wines with ample fruit and tannins that ensure good maturation potential.

The various techniques a winemaker is able to employ in the cellar have a huge impact on the style of wine:


  • Bold, full-bodied wines with ripe plum and berry flavours such as raspberry and black currant
  • Elegant wines with good fruit, spicy aromas and a full aftertaste
  • Lighter-styled wines with a less pronounced fruit character but good balance on the palate

Use of Oak

Winemakers use a wide variety of techniques when utilising oak in the production and maturation of Shiraz.

Traditionally European oak of origin, predominantly French, have been used by winemakers with American oak gaining more and more ground and Hungarian oak offering a less expensive, good quality alternative.

Aspects that play an important role in the influence of wood on the wine are e.g. the type of wood used, manufacturing techniques and size and age of the barrel. The period of time the wine is aged and the character of a specific vintage will also play a role.