Fine Wine

Top 21 Syrahs of 2021

We reveal our top 21 Syrahs of 2021, following this year’s Global Syrah Masters, taking in wines from under £10 to over £50, and a wide range of sources, from France to Greece, New Zealand, Australia and Chile.

While the results in full can be seen in the November edition of the drinks business, we have compiled a run-down of the top 21 Syrahs from this year’s competition, which can be seen below.

Among the high points this year were Syrahs from New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, South Africa’s Tulbagh Valley, Australia’s Hunter Valley, along with Barossa and McLaren Vale, and Greece’s Florina region – that is, in the expert hands of Alpha Estate.

While we did have a lovely Crozes-Hermitage, which we found ourselves seeking out to drink with a post-tasting burger, we had few Syrahs from the grape’s native home of the Northern Rhône in this year ’s competition – which was held last month in London.

HOPE SHIRAZ RESERVE 2020

  • Producer: Iconic Wines
  • Region: South Eastern Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Syrah: 90%, Viognier: 2%, Petit Verdot: 8%
  • Abv: 13.5%
  • Vintage: 2020
  • Closure: Screw cap
  • retail price: £7-8
  • Medal: Silver – Syrah Masters 2021

Here’s a brilliant example of Syrah’s ability to make deliciously juicy, structured reds for a bargain price, while also proving testament to Hunter Valley’s affinity for the grape – the source of Hope Shiraz Reserve. It’s also a wine that clearly displays Syrah’s distinctive traits, with ripe blackberry fruit, pepper-like spice, and fresh plums, complemented by a hint of vanilla, doubtless thanks to a touch of oak influence, along with firm tannins to bring a dry sensation. In short, this is a punchy, balanced red for little outlay.

CONO SUR 20 BARRELS SYRAH 2019

  • Producer: Cono Sur
  • Region: Limarí Valley
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape variety: Syrah: 97% , Cabernet Sauvignon: 3%
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • retail price: £14
  • Medal: Silver – Syrah Masters 2021

Chile appears particularly adept at producing fine, intensely coloured and pleasingly peppery Syrah, with some of its freshest and spiciest results hailing from the cooler climate of coastal Limarí. A first-rate and keenly priced example of this is Cono Sur’s 20 Barrels, which is crammed with cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, toast and chocolate, and plenty of cracked black pepper and dry tannins, making for a juicy but refreshing drop.

CROZES HERMITAGE 2017 CUVÉE LHONY DOMAINE GAYLORD MACHON

  • Producer: Domaine Gaylord Machon
  • Region: Rhône
  • Country: France
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2017
  • Closure: Cork
  • retail price: £25.95
  • Medal: Silver Syrah Masters 2021

While this year ’s Syrah Masters contained very few French Syrahs, it was a delight to taste this textbook Crozes-Hermitage from Domaine Gaylord Machon. Its Cuvée Lhony is a lovely medium-weight wine with plenty of peppercorn and tapenade characters, mixed with red cherry and blackberry fruit, some fresh plums and a background note of cedar, making for a layered, bright and gently spicy glass of barrel-influenced red.

SARONSBERG SHIRAZ 2019

  • Producer: Saronsberg Cellar
  • Region: Western Cape
  • Country: South Africa
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • retail price: £22
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

This year ’s competition featured a couple of outstanding Syrahs from South Africa’s Saronsberg, and this one, the cheaper of the two, picked up a Gold, while the other, Full Circle, was one of the very few wines to be classed a Master. As this less expensive one costs just over £20, it offers an affordable taste of the quality on offer from this part of the Cape – the Tulbagh Valley – where Saronsberg has crafted a Syrah with a lovely set of complementary traits, from plums and pepper, to blackcurrant and cedar, and even a touch of mouth-watering orange zest to give a lift to the finish in what is a ripe and intense drop.

ALPHA ESTATE S.M.X., FLORINA

  • Producer: Alpha Estate
  • Region: Florina
  • Country: Greece
  • Grape variety: Syrah: 60%, Merlot: 20%, Xinomavro: 20%
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2018
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • retail price: £24
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

We had not expected Greece to be a source of Gold-medal winning Syrah, but when it was discovered that the wine was from the first-rate Alpha Estate, the level of surprise dissipated. Nevertheless, this is certainly a rather different drop from the rest on offer, blending 60% Syrah with some Merlot and native Greek grape Xinomavro to create something with layers of berry fruit, a touch of olive, pepper, cedar and dark chocolate, as well as a dry, bright finish to make you salivate, and want go back for more.

YANGARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2018

  • Producer: Yangarra Estate Vineyard
  • Region: McLaren Vale
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14%
  • Vintage: 2018
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • retail price: £31.68
  • Medal: Master – Syrah Masters 2021

The brilliant biodynamic McLaren Vale producer that is Yangarra Estate was the source of a Master-winning Syrah this year. Using very old vines and sensitive cellar techniques, the style of wine is ripe, but not heavy, with a smoothness and brightness one might not normally associate with this hot part of Australia. Texture aside, this is a delicious Syrah, with flavours of dark cherry, pepper and plums, vanilla and cedar, even a touch of dried mint and cranberry.

MCGUIGAN PERSONAL RESERVE VV SHIRAZ, HUNTER VALLEY, 2017

  • Producer: McGuigan
  • Region: Hunter Valley
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 13.8%
  • Vintage: 2017
  • Closure: Cork
  • retail price: £44
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

This top-end expression from McGuigan offers a wonderful chance to taste the quality of Shiraz from the Hunter Valley, with its layers of flavour, ripe fruit, and fine but firm texture. Even with a few years’ ageing, it still appears youthful, with plenty of powerful black fruit, along with strong notes of toast, coconut and chocolate, then more subtle characters, from mint to plums and pepper. It’s persistent, fleshy, and a serious drop that’s been built to last.

THE PIONEER SHIRAZ, WAKEFIELD, CLARE VALLEY, 2017

  • Producer: Wakefield Taylors Wines
  • Region: Clare Valley
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2017
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • retail price: £80
  • Medal: Master – Syrah Masters 2021

It seems only right that Masters of Syrah, Wakefield Taylors, should pick up a Syrah Master. This, The Pioneer Shiraz, takes in the best fruit from this brilliant producer’s top Clare Valley vineyards to create an outstanding wine, not just an amazing Syrah. There’s sweet black cherry, plums, spice and cedar, along with coconut shavings and vanilla, and a fine tannin to dry the palate, ensuring this juicy red has an elegance as well as power and complexity.

CHURCH ROAD 1 SYRAH, HAWKE’S BAY, 2018

  • Producer: Church Road
  • Region: Hawke’s Bay
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 13%
  • Vintage: 2018
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • retail price: £50 +
  • Medal: Master – Syrah Masters 2021

Of the few places in the world to emerge as a source of reliably great Syrah this century, Hawke’s Bay is a beacon of excellence, with Church Road offering a brilliant reflection of this rising star region. This expression, called 1 Single Vineyard Syrah, uses the Gimblett Gravels area to produce a red with depth, intensity, warmth and lift, combining flavours of cedar and plum, with chocolate and pepper, along with a core of ripe blackcurrant, and persistent notes of ripe olive and cracked black pepper.

100X100 SYRAH

  • Producer: Bodegas Asensio Carcelén
  • Region: Jumilla
  • Country: Spain
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2020
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • Approx. retail price: £7-8
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

From Jumilla, an evolutionary region in southeastern Spain comes a vibrant youthful Syrah. The winery –Bodegas Asensio Carcelén – dates from the end of the 19th century, and has always been dry-farmed. From the early 21 century its 300ha have been organically certified. This wine, packed with crunchy blackfruit and warming alcohol, has zesty acidity and grippy tannins, which give enough structure to keep the wine fresh. Hints of white pepper and violet add interest and lift. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

RUFUS STONE HEATHCOTE SHIRAZ

  • Producer: Tyrell’s Wines
  • Region: Heathcote, Victoria
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £9-10
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

Tyrrell’s Wines are one of the First Families of Australia Wines. Production is mostly in Hunter Valley, but the company has 26ha of vines in Heathcote, Victoria. The Rufus Stone label, used for many of Tyrrell’s’ wines from outside the Hunter, refers to the death of King William II of England (William Rufus) who was allegedly killed in 1100 by an arrow fired by Sir Walter Tyrrell, an ancestor of the family. The eponymous stone (Rufus Stone) is located on the Beaulieu Estate in the New Forest (Hampshire, England) where King William II allegedly died. Legend aside, this wine is stunning: juicy red berry fruit and black pepper spice accented with vanilla pod notes and a hint of capisicum, all framed by lively acidity and velvety tannins. With an appropriate bit of ‘limestone’ on the finish, the wine is delicious with a perfectly grilled burger. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

DE BORTOLI RUTHERGLEN ESTATE SHIRAZ

  • Producer: De Bortoli Wines Pty Ltd.
  • Region: Rutherglen, Victoria
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.8%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £12
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

De Bortoli produce numerous styles of wine in this northeastern corner of Victoria on the New South Wales border, and this Shiraz is a special example at an extremely affordable price. Plump and rich with summer pudding fruits, white pepper and vanilla oak and just a hint of mint, the wine is bright and fresh, with linen-textured tannins and black and green olive notes adding zest to the dark fruits on the finish. Poised and persistent. Excellent with chili or steak-and-kidney pie. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

DE BORTOLI REGIONAL CLASSIC GUNDAGAI SHIRAZ

  • Producer: De Bortoli Wines Pty Ltd.
  • Region: Gundagai, New South Wales
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2018
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £12
  • Medal: Gold – Syrah Masters 2021

Another stellar example from De Bortoli’s southern New South Wales vineyards. This Shiraz, a little more dense and complex than the Rutherglen example, has red cherry and bramble fruits with a eucalyptus accent, and a tobacco note showing its development. Juicy, mid-weight, warming, with crisp acidity and grainy tannins supporting the fruit and well-judged oak. Allspice and nutmeg accentuate the savoury finish. Perfect with roast partridge with juniper berries. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

VYF WINES PREMIUM SYRAH

  • Producer: VyF Wines
  • Region: Melipilla, Maipo Valley
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £12
  • Medal: Master– Syrah Masters 2021

Produced in the moderate climate of the Maipo Valley near the Chilean capital of Santiago, this wine shows seductive black fruits, overlaid with gentle creamy wood and hints of red bell pepper, herbes de provence, and mint. Nicely integrated, layered, well-defined, supported by lively acidity and pronounced but silky-textured tannins. A voluptuous wine with a long savoury finish. A lovely choice for rabbit in a mustard crème fraiche sauce or other game. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

BRUCE JACK GHOST IN THE MACHINE SHIRAZ FROM DRIFT ESTATE COLLECTION

  • Producer: Bruce Jack Wines
  • Region: Overberg, Cape South Coast
  • Country: South Africa
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Cork
  • Approx. retail price: £12
  • Medal: Master – Syrah Masters 2021

The Bruce Jack Ghost in the Machine Shiraz is a recently launched wine from the Drift Estate Collection, and hails from a vineyard planted at 500m altitude in the Overberg Highlands, the southernmost mountain range in South Africa. The name, Ghost in the Machine, derives from a philosophical concept of consciousness carried in a physical entity, but this wine is far more than a state of mind. Packed with dark berries, bramble and plums, the wine is rich and full-bodied, with a good core of fruit and chocolatevanilla wood framed by bright acidity and abundant silky tannins. Umami-like texture, accented by black pepper, mint and spices. Incredibly ‘more-ish’. Food pairings might be exotic game, ostrich or kangaroo in red wine and mushroom sauce. A vineyard brai would also suit. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

WAKEFIELD TAYLORS WINES RESERVE PARCEL SHIRAZ

  • Producer: Wakefield Taylors Wines
  • Region: Limestone Coast/Clare Valley, South Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £20
  • Medal: Gold– Syrah Masters 2021

Wakefield Taylor Wines deliver delicious wines and this example is no exception. A vibrant Australian Shiraz from the Mount Lofty Ranges, the wine has dark, deep aromas and flavours of boysenberry, redcurrant and blackcurrant with a black pepper and peppermint lift, and chocolate and cedarwood accents. Brisk acidity and defined velvet-textured tannins support the fruit and oak. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

FERMOY RESERVE SHIRAZ

  • Producer: Fermoy
  • Region: Margaret River, Western Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £35
  • Medal: Gold– Syrah Masters 2021

Located in Wilybrup, Margaret River ’s ‘golden spot’, with rich, loamy, welldrained soils, Fermoy produces bejewelled wines. The Fermoy Shiraz is packed with red and black fruits laced with Christmas spices and lovely aromatic accents of orange zest and lavender. The wine is sweet-fruited and full-bodied, the rich palate framed by lively acidity and corduroy-textured tannins. The lingering finish is given extra interest by a hint of mint-chocolate. A superb choice with grilled steak in red wine-andshallot sauce. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

PROVENANCE SYRAH

  • Producer: The Lane Vineyard
  • Region: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Syrah
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £22
  • Medal: Master– Syrah Masters 2021

The Lane Vineyard sits at 450m altitude on hills above the Onkaparinga Valley in the Adelaide Hills. Cool nights and warm days give this pristine artisanal Syrah an almost European feel. Aromas of summer pudding red and black fruits overlain with smoky wood and Christmas spices lead to a rich palate framed by zippy acidity and velvety tannins. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

HICKINBOTHAM BROOKS ROAD SHIRAZ

  • Producer: Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyards
  • Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2018
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £50+
  • Medal: Gold– Syrah Masters 2021

The Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard site is ‘ancient’ by Australian standards, originally planted in 1858. The Brooks Vineyard Shiraz showcases the pedigree of this historically important vineyard. With an elegant nose and flavours of crunchy blackcurrant and blackberry, accented by black and white pepper and cedarwood, the palate shows excellent concentration, brisk acidity and silky tannins with weight, layers and depth. It has a lingering, savoury finish. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

BERTON VINEYARDS BONSAI

  • Producer: Berton Vineyards
  • Region: High Eden, South Australia
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz 77%, Cabernet Sauvignon 23%
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £22
  • Medal: Master– Syrah Masters 2021

Planted high above the Barossa Valley at High Eden, nearly 500m altitude, the ‘Bonsai’ vineyard is the original vineyard for Berton, planted in 1993, and lends its eponymous name to Berton’s flagship Shiraz. Intense and densely structured, the wine shows wild strawberry and blueberry flavours with hints of cherry cordial, white pepper and cocoa. A mint nuance adds lift to the rich, full-flavoured palate and leads onto a savoury finish. Plenty of depth and texture, a scrumptious wine asking for slow-roasted leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

TEMPUS TWO PEWTER UNO SHIRAZ

  • Producer: Tempus Two
  • Region: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
  • Country: Australia
  • Grape variety: Shiraz
  • Abv: 14.0%
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Closure: Screw Cap
  • Approx. retail price: £50+
  • Medal: Masters– Syrah Masters 2021

From the oldest of Australian wine regions, Hunter Valley, Tempus Two combines history and innovation. Tempus Two Pewter Series has a striking designer package: a tall slender bottle and a pewter label. The wine inside is just as gorgeous. Packed with dark berries and morello cherries, accented by cedarwood, pepper, and crushed rose petals, the wine carries the aromatics onto the palate. Following a juicy attack, the wine shows fruit and wood in exquisite balance. (Patricia Stefanowicz MW)

About The Global Syrah Masters

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Syrah Masters provides a chance for your wines to star, whether they hail from the great vineyards of Europe or lesser-known winemaking areas of the world.

The 2021 competition was judged over one day in November at 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen in South Kensington, employing experienced judges. The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Syrah Master. This report features the medal winners only.

Please visit the Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com


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