The violet-scented Syrah of controversial origins has enormous ageing potential. Today this variety is grown all around the world, producing fabulous red wines as well as some of the most exquisite rosé wines.

The mystery surrounding the origins of the Syrah grape was unlocked only at the turn of the millennium. It was long believed to have been from the Middle East. In 1998, DNA testing showed that the Syrah variety was a cross between different varieties grown in France.

Who would have thought that the Syrah would one day become one of the six most grown varieties in the world? In just over 30 years, Syrah acreage has experienced a fifteenfold expansion, now representing 4% of vineyards throughout the world. The Syrah is grown in France, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, California, Chile and Italy, among other countries.

The Syrah has an unmistakable violet aroma, with undertones of fully ripe berries such as blueberries, cherries or cassis berries. With its excellent ageing potential, the Syrah develops through the years a rich, complex bouquet featuring a pastiche of musk, truffle, leather and coffee, sometimes enhanced with spicy notes. Its vibrant colour darkens with time, shifting to a deep, ink-like hue. Almost exclusively used for red wines, the Syrah is also used to produce sumptuous rosé wines, in Provence for instance.

In Australia and South Africa, among other countries, the term “Shiraz” is used on bottles. As a simple translation of its French equivalent, the English word “Shiraz” is now used for certain wines produced from the Syrah variety. However, the Shiraz winemaking process is not the same, thus giving these wines their own distinctive character. The Shiraz wines produced in Australia or South Africa are marked by strong, jammy fruit tastes and vanilla undertones, while French Syrah wines are deeper and more aromatic.

The Syrah is a citizen of the world. Its complex fruity, spicy and floral aroma lends itself to countless pairings which vary according to its place of origin. Australia’s Shiraz pairs beautifully with grilled meats and herbs. On the other hand, the California variety is the perfect companion to deeply marinated flank steak. As for Rosé Syrah-based wines, they are delicious year-round with smoked salmon hors d'oeuvres.

§  The Syrah is said to be one of the healthiest varieties because of its high levels of resveratrol, boasting proven antioxidant properties.
§  According to regulations, the Syrah makes up at least 80% of the prestigious Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. 

SOURCE: Press release - La Grande degustation de Montreal 2016


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