What Makes a Great Syrah?

At Ram’s Gate Winery, our inspired team of wine professionals love to tout the delicious stylings of Syrah, simply because this sumptuous wine’s popularity is often undermined by Cabernet Sauvignon—especially in California. 

However, slowly but surely, the grape continues gaining more public favor and continues to beg the question, what makes a great Syrah?

We have answers, so you can grab a bottle on the way to your next dinner party and play the part of Syrah sommelier. 

Where in California is the Syrah Grape Planted?

Syrah is typically planted in two regions in California, including Northern California and the Central Coast. 

In the mid-nineties, there were just over 2,200 acres dedicated to Syrah grapes in California. Today, there are nearly 15,500 acres devoted to the varietal, which resulted in nearly 83,000 tons crushed last year.  

With this type of growth, there are only great things ahead for Syrah, and we could not be more excited. 

Climate Plays a Large Role in What Makes a Great Syrah

Syrah is a dark-skinned berry that is small and grows in petite bunches, naturally high acidity and tannins, although neither is considered too high to be overwhelming. 

Syrah ripens beautifully in dry climates with soils and terroirs that allow for deep root penetration. 

When Syrah grapevines are located along hillsides—as our estate vineyard is situated—or at the top of slopes, the elevated positioning allows water to drain more efficiently, which limits Syrah yields and produces bolder flavored grapes.

Syrah grapes grown in warmer climates yield a bigger-bodied wine with juicier fruit flavors, secondary spiced notes, and smooth tannins. 

Syrah grown in cooler climates yields bolder spices, earthier complexities, less jam-forward fruit, and stricter tannins.

Which one makes a Great Syrah? That depends on your palate and wine enjoyment style. We love them both. 

Tell Me Again: What Makes a Great Syrah?

Syrah grapes produce beautifully concentrated, rich, and deeply colored red wines that have a tremendous ability to age. 

Syrah is a big-bodied wine that is dry yet explodes terrifically at first sip as it opens on the palate. 

Syrah’s silky elegance is backed by big fruit and crunchy spice, and is flavor-packed, which is a nod to its deep, dark color. 

Sensory adjectives for what make a great Syrah include flavors of blackberries, black cherries, blueberry, plums, flowers, spice, earth, chocolate, licorice, pepper and truffles. 

Ram’s Gate Winery: Our Syrah

Our love of Syrah shines as part of our signature collections and has even inspired us to develop a club member only Syrah, which is available for our exclusive Ram’s Gate wine club members. 

You can learn more about our exciting wine collections in many ways, including by joining our wine club, reserving an in-person wine tasting experience, or through one of our informative virtual experiences, or learn what makes a great Syrah for yourself by ordering online for delivery or curbside pickup today.