Shiraz wines are popular full-bodied red wines. Follow the key etiquette rules sure to store, serve, pair, and drink Shiraz wines the right way.
What Shiraz etiquette is
Shiraz etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Shiraz wines. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Shiraz etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.
If you are a guest, respect Shiraz etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.
What you should know about Shiraz
Syrah or Shiraz is a variety of grapes with dark skin. It is used to make red wine. Shiraz can be the sole grape used in the production of a specific wine, or it can be blended with other grapes. Several countries grow Shiraz grapes. Most notably the Côte du Rhone region in France, Tuscany and Sicily in Italy, Australia, Argentina, and Chile.
Shiraz wines tend to be fruity and bold in flavor, full-bodied, and dark in color ranging from dark red to violet. In general, Shiraz wines from warmer climates tend to be fuller-bodied.
Etiquette rules for serving and drinking Shiraz
1) How to store Shiraz
Store Shiraz in a cool place. Keep the bottle away from direct light and far from any source of heat.
Place the bottle in a horizontal position, to keep the cork moist. Dry corks might let the oxygen in and spoil the wine.
You can store Shiraz in your cellar for around 5 years. Some varieties are suited for aging and can be stored for up to 25 years.
Do not store Shiraz in the fridge or in the freezer.
2) How to prepare Shiraz
Most Shiraz wines benefit from decanting. The contact with the oxygen makes the texture and flavors of the wine more gentle to the palate.
Before serving, pour the full bottle of wine into a decanter. Then, let the wine breathe. The amount of time needed for decanting depends on the wine and on personal tastes. Between 10 and 20 minutes should be enough for a medium-bodied Shiraz. While you should decant a fuller-bodied Shiraz for at least 30 minutes.
You do not need to refrigerate Shiraz wines before serving.
Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. The condensation waters down the wine and dilutes its taste.
3) How to serve & present Shiraz
Shiraz wines usually taste better between 16°C and 18°C (60°F and 65°F). Cooler temperatures risk preventing Shiraz wines from releasing their full bouquet. Thus, do not put the bottle in the fridge. Similarly, do not keep the bottle in an ice bucket.
Present Shiraz in its bottle or in the decanter. On formal occasions, it is best to present the wine in its bottle, even if you let it decant first. After decanting it, pour Shiraz back into its bottle using a small kitchen funnel.
4) When to serve & drink Shiraz
Shiraz wines are appropriate for meals and after-dinner drinks. However, they tend to be too rich and full-bodied for a pre-meal drink or a light lunch. For the same reason, Shiraz might not be an ideal wine to serve in warm weather.
You can serve Shiraz on formal and informal occasions, such as a formal dinner or a drinking party.
Rich and full-bodied Shiraz can match an important red meat course or cheese platter during a meal.
5) Food & aromas to pair Shiraz with
The ideal food pairings depend on the variety of Shiraz and, in general, on its body.
Normally, Shiraz wines tend to pair well with strong and sharp flavors.
Avoid pairing Shiraz wines with light and delicate food. Such as fish, seafood, light salads, and delicate cheese.
6) Etiquette for drinking Shiraz
Drink Shiraz in red wine glasses. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.
Drink it in small sips. Full-bodied, bold, and aged Shiraz can be considered a meditation wine. A glass of Shiraz should last between 15 and 30 minutes.
Never drink shots of Shiraz.
Never add ice to Shiraz. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added to low-quality or cheap beverages. Thus, adding ice to Shiraz can be seen as an offense to the quality of the wine, and therefore to your host.
Shiraz etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Shiraz etiquette mistakes.
- 10/10. Getting drunk.
- 7/10. Drinking shots of Shiraz.
- 7/10. Pairing Shiraz with delicate food or aromas.
- 6/10. Not holding the glass by the stem.
- 5/10. Adding ice to Shiraz.
- 3/10. Not decanting Shiraz.
Additional information for properly serving Shiraz
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
On average, Shiraz wines contain about 83 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). A glass of Shiraz is typically 150 ml (5 oz) and has 125 calories.
How to buy the best Shiraz
A crucial factor in Shiraz etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Shiraz wines are available all year round.
Choose the best
To choose your ideal Shiraz, start from the occasion or the aromas to match. Shiraz wines can be very bold and full-bodied. Thus, they risk covering the flavor of many courses.
Then, the safest choice is to buy Shiraz from an established wine region. In Europe, prefer Côte du Rhone in France or Tuscany and Sicily in Italy. Shiraz wines from Australia, Argentina, and Chile are increasingly popular.
Alternatives to Shiraz
You can substitute Shiraz with full-bodied red wines that have a comparable aromatic profile. Try Montepulciano or Tempranillo.
- Characterization of the Key Aroma Compounds in Shiraz Wine: pubs.acs.org