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The Bachelor on the Cheap guide to making wine selection and food pairing easier - Syrah a.k.a. Shiraz

Wine FunBy Mike Thayer

This is the fourth of an ongoing series of wines and food pairings

Wine, it's the perfect beverage for a romantic dinner, a go-to for a casual get-together/party and a holiday meal is complimented by it.  Whether it's a meal for two, a small party for friends or a gathering of family, having the right wine elevates the occasion. 

And while most people follow the basic rule of thumb - red wine for beef and white wine for chicken - selecting the right wine can still be challenging.  What KIND of red for that roast beef?  Or, What KIND of white for that lemon chicken dish?  Does dessert call for a different wine?

The choices are many and can be intimidating, with the reds there's Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon; Zinfandel; Syrah/Shiraz; Malbec; Pinot Noir; Nebbiolo; Sangiovese; Grenache and all kinds of red blends to choose from.

With the whites there's Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Moscato; Pinot Grigio; Riesling; Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Albarino and yes, white wine has it's share of blends as well.

So you walk into the liquor store in need of a bottle of wine for a dinner date or special occasion... 

Sure, you can rely on the store attendant to help you with a selection but that can be hit or miss.  A good attendant will ask you if you prefer wines on the sweeter or dryer side and what you might be pairing it with.  But keep in mind the attendant's palate is different than yours, their sweet and dry preferences are different than yours and they might try to push a particular brand on you that's in the store's best interest, not yours.  So why not walk in the store knowing what you need?  That's what this guide is for, to help you with food pairings, what is sweet, what is dry and getting a good wine for under $15 a bottle.  That's the Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly thing to do, get something nice, without paying too much for it.

The first wine and food pairing article featured Merlot.  The second article featured Cabernet Sauvignon.  The third article featured Zinfandel

Today's featured wine:  Syrah a.k.a. Shiraz

Two spellings for the same grape?  What the heck?  This one can be a bit confusing for new wine drinkers.   According to Wine Folly, the Syrah grape originated in the legendary wine-producing area of the Rhone Valley in France, way, way back.  Eventually, the grape was taken to Australia and became the most-planted grape in that country.  But they don't call it Syrah there, it's called Shiraz instead.   The grape has since become quite popular and is now being grown around the world.  Basically put, it's the same grape, Syrah is the French way to spell it, Shiraz is the English way.  Enough on the grape history lesson.  Syrah/Shiraz tends to be on the drier side, but not as dry as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Syrahs have fruity notes of black cherry, blackberry and plum along with spice notes such as clove and licorice.  In the finish there are hints of espresso and dark chocolate.  With above average alcohol levels and moderate tannins, this fruity/spicy wine pairs well with barbecue and it really doesn't what kind of meat.  Pork ribs, beef ribs, bbq chicken and just about any grilled fare from hamburgers to a leg of lamb go nicely with Syrah.  When it comes to cheeses, Syrah pairs well with blue cheeses and salty ones such as pecorino or halloumi.   Do NOT drink Syrah with seafood or salads and while it pairs nicely with dark chocolate, you might want to find another wine to drink with any other kind of dessert.  Serve Syrah with a slight chill, 60 - 65 degrees, not quite room temperature.  With its higher alcohol content, if not slightly chilled, the flavors will be dulled.  Put in your fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Yellow-tail-ShirazBachelor on the Cheap Recomendation: Yellow Tail Shiraz- $8.99.   Here's the description:  Ripe Cherries and strawberries, spice, and vanilla aromas. Yellow Tail Shiraz is bold and well balanced, with earthy tones and lingering fruit on the tongue.

Next Up in the series:  Malbec

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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