Tysons Corner, VA

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

One of the most repeated questions I get from customers is, “What’s the difference between Shiraz and Syrah?”

The simple answer from a wine merchant is nothing, there’s no difference: same grape, different name. While Australia and some other regions call the grape Shiraz, other regions such as France, California and Washington state call the grape Syrah.

But there are definitely differences in styles and taste profile; all based on the climate the grape is grown in. It has almost become industry standard that in warmer climates, the wine is called Shiraz and in cooler climates the wine is called Syrah. We will explain what Petite Syrah or Petite Sirah is another time, but Petite Syrah is a completely different grape.

France

Syrah wine is originated in the Rhone region of France. Appellations in Northern Rhone such as Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage use only Syrah grapes for their red wines while Syrah in Southern Rhone is used to blend.

Syrah from Northern Rhone tend to have more earthy-tasting notes than your typical red. Premium Syrah typically come from Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Saint-Joseph. These regions produce Syrah that contains an intense level of tannins, complex flavors and a long wonderful finish.

Want to try a Syrah from France? We recommend Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie 2016, review below.

Saint Cosme Côte-Rôtie 2016, Côte-Rôtie, France

“The 2016 Côte-Rôtie comes all from the Côte Brune side of the appellation, which is all schist soils. Fermented with no destemming and aged mostly in older barrels, it’s a rock star Côte-Rôtie and offers loads of blackberry fruits, spice, tapenade, cured meats and pepper. With medium to full body, a deep, layered mid-palate, present tannins and a huge finish, it needs short-term cellaring but is an undeniably gorgeous Syrah that will have two decades of longevity.”

94 Points — Jeb Dunnuk

Australia  

In the early 2000s, Australian Shiraz sales were booming. American wine consumers couldn’t get enough Australian Shiraz. The brand Yellow Tail was created and, along with other quirky Australian wines, took over grocery store’s wine shelves. Wine makers in Australia realized this and started producing high-end Australian Shiraz like crazy which led to the market being flooded with it.

Wine consumers probably have noticed wine shelves containing less and less Australian Shiraz the past few years. People are simply not buying these wines anymore. Now that consumers are not drinking Australian Shiraz as much as before, the wine is much better than what it was ten years ago. Australian wine makers have perfected their craft and make top quality wines.

Australian Shirazes are grown in Australia’s hot, dry climate. The warm climate produces powerful wines with dark ripe fruit, jammy and silky smooth. Top quality Shiraz producing regions in Australia are the Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale and Coonwarra. Want to try an Australian Shiraz? We recommend Molly Dooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2016, review below.

Molly Dooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2016, Mclaren Vale, Australia

“The 2016 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz displays a heavy overlay of smoky, maple syrup and caramel oak but also rich chocolate, boysenberry and plum fruit. It’s full-bodied and velvety in texture, with a coarse, slightly open-knit finish. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.”

92 Points — Robert Parker

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WWBG: Wine Purchasing Guide

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

For some people, buying a bottle of wine from a store with a large selection can be a daunting task.

With so many different wines with different labels from various regions throughout the world, it’s difficult to know what wine to choose. Without going into grape specificities, I’m going to give you some tips on how to buy a perfect bottle of wine for any occasion.

What are you willing to spend?

This is always the first question we ask when assisting a customer buying a bottle of wine.  These days you can find a nice bottle of wine in any price range depending on what kind of complexity of flavors you are looking for. We typically recommend three price ranges to our customers, under 15 dollars, 15-20 dollars or over 25 dollars.

As a consumer, you should be aware of your wine allowance before you walk into a store and stick to your budget. You do not  want to go into a wine shop with a budget of 20 dollars and leave with a bottle that is 30-40 dollars.

Even if the wine is great, you won’t be walking out happy and will not find the same enjoyment in the wine. You can find a fantastic wine under any budget for any occasion.

What are your tastes and preferences?

Next question we simply ask is, what kind of wine do you like? First time wine buyers usually reply with “Wine’s that taste good.”

This is true for all us wine drinkers but figuring out the exact type you enjoy, paired with certain foods, will go a long way in creating a wonderful wine-drinking experience. Simple questions to ask yourself in regards to your wine preferences include:

  • Do you prefer white wine or red wine?
  • Do you like dry or sweet?
  • Light, medium or full-bodied?

It is important to know your tastes and likes rather than a wine publications or wine merchant selling you wine. They may recommend a perfectly good wine that most people like, but that is not exactly your preference or taste. Another issue that comes up quite often is a consumer having a wine they enjoyed at a dinner party or at a restaurant but cannot remember the name.

To combat this issue, take a picture of the wine or write the wine maker, type and year down on a notepad (or in these times, your phone). A friendly wine merchant will be able to help you locate that particular bottle or something similar to the wine you were looking for. Best rule; buy the wine you will drink.

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WWBG: Not Just a Bottle Shop

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Dominion Wine & Beer is thrilled to announce that our brand new wine & craft beer bar is OPEN! The new addition is located directly above our existing retail bottle shop in Falls Church. At Dominion, you can enjoy a great meal, pint of craft beer or glass of wine plus shop the areas best selection of beers and wines to take home.

We are now open full time with our hours listed below. Retail store hours have been extended to offer all of the great aspects of the business in unison.

Our craft beer and wine bar features 24 rotating craft beers on tap as well as 16 wines by the glass, alongside an extensive bottle list (wine list still in the works). Our current food menu features some great options including a delicious fried chicken sandwich, crispy Brussels sprouts, honey glazed and spiced Malibu carrots, charcuterie boards and much more!

Downstairs in the retail area, you’ll find 12 additional rotating draft lines with pours and crowlers available from all 36 taps.

Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view our entire draft list, prices and growler fill/growler availability in real time.

We can’t wait for you all to come out, see our new space, and experience the new Dominion Wine & Beer!

Retail and Wine Bar hours:

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Kitchen opens at 11 a.m. daily.

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