Weeks when Rachel teaches a class at DCanter (which you should all attend if you are in DC,) are good weeks for me. I get to watch a preview of the class, maybe taste some of the wine and learn a bunch about regions/grapes that I didn’t know about. This week was one of those weeks, the class was on Syrah vs Shiraz, and the truly shocking thing was that they are one in the same! Both wines come from the same grape; the different name comes from where they were grown, and how the wine was made. Usually, Syrahs come from the Northern Rhone area of France, where the vines grow on incredible slopes and the wines have tastes and aromas of cracked black pepper, earth and leather. Shiraz tends to come from the New World, especially Australia, where the vines have an easier time, and the wines are more aromatic and fruit forward. Anyway, after class this week, we had a tough choice of which wine to have to accompany our dinner.
In the end we went with the De Morgenzon DMZ Syrah 2011. This wine comes from South Africa, where is spends 11 months in French oak giving it hints of vanilla and smoke on the nose and on the palate.
When you first smell the wine, you get dark fruit, blueberry and boysenberry with a little dark chocolate and a fair amount of leather. It smells earthy but with a little smoke and some cherry. On the palate you find stewed fruit, overripe plum, and bramble. The wine finishes with some pleasant tannins. This is definitely a food wine, we ate it with steak, but you also can’t go too far wrong with chili either and since it is winter, both of those are pretty good options.
Rating: Weeknight Wine Place of Purchase: DCanter, Washington DC Retail Price: $20 If you like this you will like California Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Australian Shiraz