World Wide Wine - Syrah, Shiraz, Shyraz

Tonight's tasting was looking at the differences that terroir make to a grape variety but for me the similarities were much stronger.

There was a common thread of high-toned fresh foliage in the three wines, a much stronger similarity than the more obvious ones like chocolate or black pepper.

I liked the Paul Jaboulet Ainé Hermitage 'La Chapelle' ('01, cork) best, probably because I'm a Francophile, but ostensibly because of its silky texture, tobacco notes and a little hint of merde. Truly excellent, 4+++.

d'Arenberg 'Footbolt' Shiraz ('05, cork), from McLaren Vale in Australia, had the same whiff, along with great fruit concentration and real ripeness. Also excellent, (albeit not French, so it doesn't get the excitable plusses) 4.

The third red, Chono Reserva Syrah ('06, cork), from Geo Wines of Chile, excited me rather less than the others, perhaps because it's ultra-clean, but it did occur to me later that the interesting herby, sausage-y savouriness would probably make it the best partner for the Burns Night Haggis1 which you are no doubt already planning (only eleven days to go!). Still and all, another excellent wine, 4.

1: assuming you want syrah with your haggis. Far be it from me to counsel against Vendange Tardive Gewürztraminer or Grand Cru Chablis.

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