Tannat vs Syrah


Comparing Tannat vs Syrah is a fun exercise. We think of Syrah as a big red wine, but Tannat is a worthy competitor.

Tannat and Syrah both have high tannins and a firm structure. Syrah has a black pepper and olive note, Tannat has lower acid, licorice, and smoke. Both are big wines.

TL;DR: If you like the structure and power of Syrah, you’re going to like Tannat, too.

Tannat Basics: A Powerful Red

tannat vs syrah- tannat wine profile infographic - what does tannat taste like

Tannat, originating from France, is a powerful, tannic red wine grape that isn’t nearly as popular as some of the other big reds out there. Today, Tannat’s spiritual home is Uruguay, of all places, in a curious twist of wine fate. (Here’s a deep Tannat wines.)

You’ll find tiny pockets of Tannat grown outside of France and Uruguay from boutique producers. If you come across these wines, be sure to give them a try.

Wines from tannat are deeply colored, almost an inky-black, thanks to thick skins and small berries. Those skins leach out tannins into the wine, making for an astringent drinking experience. Tannat showcases black fruit, licorice, spice, and a smokey note.

Fun Wine Fact: The name “Tannat” derives from tannin, giving you a clue as to just how tannic this wine can be.

Syrah Basics: Spicey Red

what does syrah taste like - wine infographic - syrah vs tannat
Grape Profiles – 61

Originally from the Rhône Valley in France, Syrah’s considered one of the major international wine grape varieties. Syrah is a full-bodied red wine with medium to high acidity, pronounced tannins, and medium to high alcohol content. Check out this full post on Syrah wine.

Today, Syrah can be found not only in France, but also in regions like California, Chile, and Australia, each offering its unique expression of this beloved grape variety.

Fun Wine Fact: Syrah goes by the name Shiraz in Australia, and is the country’s signature red wine grape.

Wine Comparison: Tannat vs. Syrah

Here’s a quick side-by-side that covers the most common styles of Tannat and Syrah.

HueDeep purple to inky blackDeep red
AromasDark fruit, chocolate, smoke,
licorice, black tea
Blackberry, black cherry, olive,
black pepper, smoke
AcidMediumMedium to High
Alcohol (%)13-15%13-15%
IntensityMedium to PronouncedPronounced
Key Growing RegionsUruguay (Madiran, Tursan in France)Rhone Valley, France,
California, Australia,
Chile, Argentina, New Zealand
Classic PairingsGrilled meats, hearty stewsGrilled steak, stew, tacos
Price Range$15-$40$10-$90+

Tannat Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Tannat is a dry red wine.
  • Alcohol: Tannat wines generally have a moderate to high alcohol content, ranging from around 13% to 15% ABV.
  • Body: Known for its bold body, Tannat provides a powerful and complex drinking experience.
  • Tannins: Tannat has higher tannin levels compared to Syrah.
  • Acid: Tannat has medium acid levels, lower than most Syrah wines.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Tannat will be medium plus to pronounced on the nose and palate with dark fruits, like blackberry and black plum, dark chocolate, licorice, and smoke.

Syrah Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Syrah is typically made in a dry style. You may find off-dry examples in entry-level bottles made for a broad consumer market.
  • Alcohol: Syrah wines typically have 13% to 15% ABV, similar to Tannat.
  • Body: Syrah is known for its full body, like Tannat.
  • Acid: Syrah has medium-plus to high acid, usually higher than Tannat wine.
  • Tannin: Syrah has high tannins that grip the mouth, but not as high as Tannat.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Syrah displays medium aroma intensity with blackberry, black cherry, and savory notes, such as olive, black pepper, and smoke.

Helpful Tip: Winemakers for both Tannat and Syrah often use oak during winemaking. Here’s what oak contributes to wine.

Are Tannat and Syrah Similar?

Both Tannat and Syrah wines are rich and full-bodied with dark fruit flavors. Both wines are often oaked, with mocha, coffee, and chocolate notes. They both have similar alcohol levels and bodies.

What Is the Difference Between Tannat and Syrah?

Tannat tends to have much stronger tannins than Syrah, but softer acid. Syrah has a distinctive pepper and olive note.

Fun Wine Fact: Syrah’s black pepper is one of the key ways to identify this powerful red wine in a blind wine tasting, but not everyone can taste it. Something like 1/3 of the population can’t taste the flavor molecule, rotundone, that gives Syrah its peppery kick. Who knew? Now you do!

Tannat vs Syrah: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

grilled steak dinner - tannat vssyrah wine

Tannat and Syrah Food Pairing: Both of these wines have strong tannins and robust bodies that need to be paired with protein- and fat-rich dishes. Grilled and roasted meats, vegetables, and hearty stews are what you’re going to want to enjoy with Syrah and Tannat.

Personal Note: I love both Tannat and Syrah with hamburgers and fries.

Both Tannat and Syrah are best enjoyed at slightly below room temperature. Place them in a cool, dark place for a while before serving.

Discover More:
Syrah vs Grenache
Syrah Cheese Pairing Tips
Easy Dinners to Pair with Syrah

Which Is More Expensive, Tannat vs. Syrah?

syrah vs tannat - wine store shelf

When comparing the prices of Tannat and Syrah, it’s natural to wonder about bottle prices.

Helpful Tip: Tannat is less expensive than Syrah at the premium end. It doesn’t have the same production costs or popularity as cult Syrah wines from, say, Barossa or Cote Rotie.

Wine Prices

Wine Prices

Category Tannat Price Range Syrah Price Range
Entry-level $15 to $20 per bottle Under $10 to $15 per bottle
Premium Around $25 to $40 or higher per bottle Around $35 to $90 or more per bottle

Tannat Cost

  • Entry-level Tannat wines are typically affordable, ranging from $15 to $20 per bottle.
  • If you are looking for premium Tannat, there are higher-priced Tannat wines available. These bottles, priced around $25 to $40 or higher, offer a more complex and nuanced drinking experience.

Syrah Cost

  • Entry-level Syrah wines can start under $5 USD, but a good price range is $10-$15, offering accessible options for everyday enjoyment.
  • If you’re looking for premium selections from renowned producers or specific regions, prices can range from $30 to $90 or more.

Helpful Tip: Here’s how a bottle of wine gets priced. This post is a little nerdy, but it’s quite complicated and nuanced depending on where you are in the world and where you’re buying your wine.

Which Is Better Tannat or Syrah?

If you enjoy bold, robust red wine with more tannin, Tannat will be better for you. If you prefer a full-bodied wine with pepper, savory olive, and rich spice, then stick with Syrah. If you’re on a budget, Syrah is less expensive. If you have limited access to a range of wines, Syrah will be easier to find.

Final Thoughts – Tannat or Syrah?

Both Tannat and Syrah are full-bodied red wines that are best enjoyed with meals.

I’m a big fan of side-by-side tastings to discover the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between these red wines.

Grab 2 bottles of similarly priced Tannat and Syrah. Invite over a few friends and enjoy an evening of swirling and sipping.

Helpful Tip: These are both food wines. Make sure you have something to eat along with them.

Thirsty for More?

I’m a big believer in doing side-by-side tastings to boost your wine knowledge. Here’s how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot, another popular red wine, along with Cabernet Sauvignon vs Malbec, and Shiraz vs Merlot.

You should be able to find delicious wines at every price point. Check out this post on how to find great wines under $50.

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