According to Wikipedia, there ain’t no difference. Well, except of course for schnozzle. The Syrah grape’s origin and name are French. The name Shiraz is thought to have originated in Australia or England and spread to other English language countries. While this wine is a California Syrah, and the previously reviewed Fat bastard Shiraz is a French wine, and the also previously reviewed Charles Shaw Shiraz is a California wine, at least per the label, they’re all made from the same grape. The real importance is not what’s in the name, but what’s in the bottle.
What’s in the bottle is pretty good. You won’t confuse this wine with one of the Sangiovese based Tuscan wines. The taste is distinctly earthier. There’s no sharpness as might be found in a Merlot or Cab. In comparison to the other two Shiraz mentioned here, there is no noticeable strange aftertaste. From memory and notes, it’s taste seems comparable to the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. As it’s 2008 born on date might suggest, the tannins in this wine have mellowed nicely. It’s another very smooth wine. The extra 1%, or so, of alcohol doesn’t get in the way of the wine.
This wine is made for Trader Joe’s by Castoro Cellars. Both the TJ branded and Castoro branded Syrah get generally pretty good reviews on the web.
For me it’s a keeper. For those of you who like a more flavorful earthier wine, this is one to put in your basket on one of your next trips to Trader Joe’s. As the name implies, you’re not likely to find it anywhere else.
See how several wines compare at this Top 10 wine list.