Syrah – also know as Shiraz – is a grape that has a dark skin and is found in many regions around the world. It produces a luxurious red wine.
The DNA profiling of this wine, in 1999, found that it featured in its origins two obscure ranges from southeastern France – Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. The DNA results do not reveal how old the varietal is, neither it is known when the pollination of Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche vine took place. All other legends and purported origins about this wine have proven to be wrong. This recent discovery was based on the DNA of the vine and it is the only origin story that stands up to scientific evidence.
Either way, the wine known as Syrah has a very longstanding documented history in the Rhone region of France. It’s anybody’s guess whether it originated there, as the Dureza grape has completely disappeared and is no longer grown or found. The Mondeuse Blanche, however, is still found, albeit in scarce supply.
It is important not to confuse this wine with Petite Syrah, which is another name for Durif. Durif is a cross of Syrah with Peloursin, developed in 1880.
The flavour from the wine is influenced by the climate where the grapes are grown. Syrah is often found in moderate climates such as the US’ Washington State. It produces a full-bodied, sometimes medium wine, it is famous for the high levels of its tannins and an assortment of flavours such as mint, pepper notes, spicy notes and black cherry notes.
When the grape is found in hotter climates such as Australia, it is far more rare to find it as a medium bodied wine. This also affects the taste. These wines often have liquorice, aniseed, and earthy tones. It is the acidity and tannin levels in Syrah that makes the wine good to keep for ageing.
Syrah continues to be the main grape grown in Rhone and is associated with classic wines likes Hermitage.