Ultimate Syrah Food Pairing Guide [20 Unmissable Pairings]
Syrah, known for deep and bold complexity, is one of the most popular wines in the world (I sure can't get enough of it anyway!).
Its full body, velvety tannins, and inky color make it a standout wine to pair with everything from BBQ to smoked meats to hearty vegetarian dishes.
This guide covers everything you need to know about making the perfect Syrah food pairing.
We've got you covered with tasting notes, regional differences, pairing tips, and tons of amazing recommendations!
What Does Syrah Taste Like?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of food and wine pairings, it’s first helpful to know what exactly Syrah tastes like and how regional differences affect its flavor.
Syrah is a dry red wine with a full body, medium acidity, and moderate to high tannins. All examples of Syrah can be expected to have flavors of dark fruits, including blackberry, black currant, and black cherry. Additional flavors of earth, forest floor, and smoke appear in both young and aged wines.
Syrah is most often aged in oak, resulting in a light baking spice flavor. Both in Australia and the Northern Rhône Valley, Syrah grapes are often co-fermented in tanks with Viognier, which adds floral and aromatic notes to the wine.
Syrah is generally grown in warm climates, making for dark fruit and cooked fruit-flavored wines with moderate acidity.
In cooler climates, Syrah can be expected to have lighter fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and smoke.
Originating in the Rhône Valley, Syrah is still predominantly made in France. Northern Rhône exclusively grows Syrah, with no other permissible red grapes allowed.
In addition, Syrah is the leading component in Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends alongside Grenache, Mourvèdre, and a dozen or so additional grapes, making for the classic “GSM” blend.
In France, Syrah can be expected to have flavors of blackberry, smoke, herbs, and baking spices. GSM blends typically have bright red and dark fruit flavors of raspberry and blackberry, along with dried herbs and baking spices. In the GSM blend, Syrah adds richness, ageability, and complexity.
Australian Syrah (Shiraz)
While France may be the largest producer of Syrah, this grape has taken over as Australia’s leading red grape.
Here, known as Shiraz, it is most notably grown in Barossa and Hunter Valley. Shiraz can be expected to have more fruit-driven flavors than Rhône Valley.
Expect bold dark fruit flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and blackcurrant, along with noticeable flavors of pepper and smoke.
Californian Syrah (Shiraz)
Paso Robles remains the leading producer in California of Syrah and makes Rhône style wines with more earth-driven notes of herbs, forest floor, and spice.
GSM blends are also common in this region, making lighter wines more versatile for delicate pairings than single-varietal Syrah.
How to Pair Syrah
Syrah is a multifaceted wine with flavors ranging from spice to smoke to dark fruits. This, along with its acidity and plush tannins, makes Syrah a no-brainer for a whole host of food pairings.
Factors to Consider When Pairing Foods with Syrah
Syrah’s medium to high tannins and moderate acidity make it a good match for richly flavored dishes such as beef stews, pot roasts, and BBQ.
In addition, its ability to tenderize and soften meat makes it perfect for fatty proteins such as pork belly or ribeye.
Generally, wine should not be more intense than the food it’s served with. Therefore, it is best to avoid pairing Syrah with mild flavors, especially seafood and buttery or citrus-based dishes.
Vinaigrettes will make Syrah taste bitter by comparison, so avoid dressings or sauces higher in acid than the wine.
The Best Food Pairings With Syrah Wine
Be it meat, veg, snacks, cheeses or appetizers, we've got some incredible food pairings to try with your next bottle of Shiraz/Syrah.