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Syrah/Shiraz shootout: Australia vs California

Northside Staff Tasters: Jason Wentworth & Dave Pohl, eds., Dana Malley, David Marrano, Alice Peters, Kelley O’Neill

The staff at Northside finds it interesting to compare wines produced from the same grape variety, yet hailing from different viticultural regions. The northern Rhône Valley of France has been acclaimed for its production of outstanding Syrah for centuries. Knowing this fact, the staff was more curious to see how the ever popular New World styles from California and Australia would stack up against each other.

Recently, Northside pitted no fewer than 63 Syrah (or Shiraz) wines against each other, all in the $15-$25 price category, to see which region would claim the title for best wine. Through 3 days of teeth-staining tasting, the staff was able to narrow the competition down to two wines.

The Australian Jim Barry "Lodge Hill" Shiraz ($16), from the Clare Valley, proved to be the ultimate victor by a mere hair. Tasters were in awe over this blockbuster’s dense and voluptuous blackberry fruit as well as its classic Aussie components of eucalyptus, spice, and vanilla, all working in perfect harmony.

While the Rabbit Ridge Syrah ($18) from the Paso Robles region of California may have finished second, tasters were captivated by this wine’s rich and smoky blackberry fruit, with hints of cedar and clove making an appearance in the long finish.

It’s so tough to choose between the two, we think customers should do their own taste-off this Easter with a nice leg of lamb.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 02/07/06

Northside Wine & Spirits is located at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

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