Syrah is the one grape that just radiates sex, and when I say sex, I mean the kind of passionate, dirty and slightly kinky sex no one ever talks about. Vanilla love-making is not in its DNA, Syrah is wild, rough and dirty. In ‘The wine bible’ Karen MacNeil describes Syrah as ‘the kind of guy who wears cowboy boots with a tuxedo. Manly yet elegant.’ True, wine based on Syrah has a strong, unconventional and dramatic taste, but I still associate it more with primitive and forbidden sex in the haystack or the vineyard. Australia and France are the main producers of Syrah (or Shiraz as its called in Australia). True to cultural stereotype, Syrah based wines from Australia are overwhelming and powerful, whereas the ones from France are more restrained and elegant.

Nothing easier than matching Syrah with music. It just begs to be paired with Soul, Funk and a touch of Disco, or to put it in more general terms, it matches perfectly with almost all music with African-American roots, with the exception of the darkest, most desperate version of Blues. However, it goes brilliantly with Blues inspired artists like Jimi Hendrix, Led zeppelin or even The Rolling Stones. The song I associate most with Syrah is ‘Back door man’, a song about having an affair with a married woman, written by Willie Dixon and recorded (amongst many others) by Howlin’ Wolf en The Doors. It’s incredibly sexual and amoral which, without wanting to insult Syrah, neatly summarises the essence of the grape.

Putting together a long list of Syrah inspired songs is easy, but somehow, at least for me, most R&B and Rap songs don’t qualify. Sure, it doesn’t help that I don’t like most R&B, but the main reason is that most R&B and Rap songs are too direct, too much in your face and (truth be told) too much about fucking instead of sex. That’s not Syrah; Syrah is unconventional and somehow mysterious, secretly wrong instead of ‘in your face’ insulting.

Anyway, five easy pieces:

Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve been loving you. Led Zeppelin just radiates sex. Not their most overtly sexual song. It’s the tension of the song that does it.

Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Chile. From the Electric Ladyland album. Not the ‘slight return’ version but the long, 15 minute, one. Feels like a sexual encounter of exactly 15 minutes

Grinderman – Heathen child. There is something seriously wrong with the theme of this song. Abducted by the wolfman, what does that mean exactly? But…’she’s sitting in the bathtub, sucking on her thumb, waiting for the wolfman to come’

James Brown – Sex machine. James Brown’s soul is all about sex. His dancing is all about sex. And sex machine is one of his easiest to understand songs

Marvin Gaye – Let’s get it on. The ultimate song to have sex on, it seems.