By Carl Hanson
July 29, 2015

Syrah and Shiraz. The grapes might go by different names, but they're actually the same fruit, making warm, welcoming wines with flavors of raspberries and blackberries, white pepper, currants, and cassis and aromas of black fruit, smoke, leather, tar, and coffee. Find the best recipes to pair with this food-friendly red.

Photo by Meredith

Where Syrah and Shiraz Call Home

Syrah's historical home is the Rhone region of France, where the grape makes spicy, rich, darkly delicious wines.

Syrah also makes tasty wines in Australia, where it goes by the name Shiraz. Australian versions are typically big, bold, and spicy with jammy fruit and aromas of leather and black fruit.

Syrah also excels in Washington state, where its muscular aspects are typically tempered by a touch of refreshing acidity, and in California, where styles vary. In general, you can expect California and Washington Syrah to be a little less powerful than big Australian versions.

Recipes to Pair with Syrah and Shiraz

Syrah loves the 'que. Try it with grilled burgers, rib recipes, or even grilled eggplant or portabella mushrooms. It also likes roasted duck recipes, grilled sausages, beef chili recipes, and beef casserole recipes. If you crave red wines with fish, try Syrah with grilled tuna or salmon. Here are some top-rated recipes that pair perfectly with Syrah or Shiraz.

"I love meatloaf, but not as much as I love meatloaf sandwiches," says Chef John. "In fact, I'll make a meatloaf just for the leftovers. I'll fry the cold slice in a buttered pan until hot and crusty, and enjoy it on toast with ketchup. This recipe is basically that, plus bacon, in burger form."

Photo by Chef John

"A hearty and traditional Irish lamb stew," says Danny O'Flaugherty. "It's best to refrigerate the stew overnight, and reheat it the next day for eating. This soup 'ages' well!"

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

The world's greatest baked bean casserole. You'll simmer white beans with garlic, onions, bay leaf, and a whole clove. Then combine them with sautéed aromatic vegetables and bacon. What else is in there? Sausage, duck confit, diced tomatoes. "This is the world's greatest baked bean recipe, and a classic French dish," says Chef John. "It's perfect for a cold winter night."

Photo by catherine.drew

"A simply seasoned pan-fried duck breast is served with a ruby red sauce made with red plums, strawberries and raspberries," says Phil. "Roasted potatoes sprinkled with fresh rosemary is a great side dish to serve alongside this duck."

Photo by Magda
| Credit: Magda

"Giving a sausage a cool, coiled shape isn't just fun or frivolous; it's also fully functional," says Chef John. "The extra surface area picks up additional delicious smoky, caramelized flavors from the grill. You could brush barbecue sauce on an un-helixed Italian sausage, but here you're literally flavoring the sausage inside and out. I served them on buns with homemade basil-garlic mayonnaise."

Photo by Baking Nana

"Hamburgers? Yes. But basic fare? Definitely not!" says QUIKSMYLE. "What a treat they are, and the wise cook will make up a dozen or so for the freezer. If you like blue cheese, you'll never forget these burgers."

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

"Excellent roast beef with plenty of juices which can be thickened for gravy," says GLASSWOMN9.

Photo by wannabe chefette

"The chipotle peppers give this slow cooker chili a subtle, smoky flavor," says emily.weaver.brown. "Add more minced chipotle peppers to taste. Serve with sour cream, sharp Cheddar cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro."

Photo by mommyluvs2cook

"Portabello mushrooms, spinach, cheeses and penne combine to make a delicious casserole dish," says chmadden.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Ribs aren't just for summer anymore. Here's an easy oven technique that produces fall-off-the-bone tender and delicious baby-back ribs. "If you're in the mood for a little virtual trip into summer, give this technique a try," says Chef John. This works with literally any dry rub and barbecue sauce combo."

Photo by Chef John

"Yes, shepherd's pie is predominantly thought of as Irish or British," says Larry Short. "But since I'm Scottish, I thought I'd give it a unique twist to suit my ancestral tastes. The use of lamb, the smoky, heather taste of Guinness Draught (Irish, I admit), and the topping of sharp Cheddar and smoked paprika give this version its unique, smoky-sweet flavor."

Photo by Katie Ogletree

"In this Basque-inspired braised lamb shoulder, the radishes that are cooked with the lamb absorb the other flavors in the dish," says Chef John. "I really hope you give this strange, but exciting braised lamb dish a try soon."

Syrah? Shiraz? Which Is It, Already?

The history -- or legend, as the case may be -- of this grape's origin has been a matter of some debate. It was long believed to be a native of Persia, hailing from the ancient town of Shiraz, in what is now Iran.

This explains why Australian winemakers have favored the name "Shiraz" over Syrah. Some North American winemakers have also chosen Shiraz, but it's mostly an Australian term.

In recent years, however, scientists from the University of California at Davis and L'Ecole Nationale Superiore Agronomique de Montpellier applied DNA testing to the grapes, and discovered Syrah's true birth place. Sorry, Shiraz, but it turns out that Syrah's a French grape; the variety's parents are Mondeuse Blanc, a little-known relative of Mondeuse Noire (a variety found in the Loire) and the even lesser-known Dureza, indigenous to an area just west of the Rhone River in the northern Ardeche region of France.

Check out the collection of Syrah and Shiraz Wine Pairing Recipes.