Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: September 27, 2022

Syrah Wine Secrets And Facts

Syrah Wine Secrets And Facts

Syrah wine is one of the noblest varieties and is famous for both its history and its aromas. Syrah is perhaps native to the Rhone valley, although the origin is disputed by various places. What is certain is that this wine has conquered many wine enthusiasts over the years.

There are many things to say about this beverage. But this exceptional wine also holds some secrets that are interesting to discover. Let’s find them out.

1.  Syrah Wine Has Controversial Origins

Pick a wine, any wine, and you’ll probably be able to effortlessly track its origins. That’s not the case of Syrah. While it is believed the vines have French origins, the name suggests otherwise.

In fact, experts believe the wine has either Middle Eastern or Italian origins. Syrah may come either from the Persian city of Schiraz or from Syracuse, a Sicilian city renowned for its military power and influence in the ancient world.

2. An International Vine

Regardless of its origins, Syrah is considered today an international vine. The grapes thrive in the Rhone region in France but also in many wine regions in Italy and Spain. Outside Europe, Syrah is cultivated in California, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.

The wine region has a strong impact on Syrah’s terroir and the beverage expresses specific characteristics for each of these wine regions.

3. Syrah And Petite Syrah Are Two Different Varieties

Syrah wine is known by many names. Some call it Shiraz and in America, some even refer to the same wine using the names Syrah and Petite Syrah. However, these names actually designate two different grape varieties.

In France, Petite Syrah is a more popular wine obtained from smaller grapes which produce nobler beverages. Syrah, on the other hand, is produced from larger grapes that give life to less complex wines.

4. Hermitage – The Most Complex Syrah

Wondering which Syrah is the best? Try Hermitage. This wine is obtained from grapes sourced in the small village Tain-l’Hermitage in France.

The grapes grown in this region are very flavorful, giving the wine distinct characteristics of blackberries and smoky meat.

Obviously, Hermitage Syrah is one of the most expensive reds, but it’s worth tasting it at least once in the lifetime.

5. Syrah Loves Harsh Conditions

There are many cold climate grapes but only a few can compete with Syrah in terms of adaptation to harsh environments. Syrah vines thrive in adverse weather and produce a constant yield regardless of the atmospheric conditions.

The best wines are obtained from grapes grown in exposed areas. High plant density and a limited production per plant also improve the characteristics of the wine. However, Syrah is sensitive to water stress.

6. Exquisite Blends

Syrah grapes are often blended with other varieties to achieve exquisite wines. Blending Syrah is a common practice above all in America and Oceania, but in Tuscany, you can also find exquisite wines made from Syrah blends.

Most wineries blend Syrah with Cabernet; one country that did it differently was France who blended Syrah with Bordelais.

However, due to the controlled appellation origin rules, France now only produces pure Syrah that isn’t blended with any other grape varieties.

7. Obscure Parentage

As mentioned above, Syrah is an exquisite grape variety that impresses with its characteristics. A curiosity of this fact is, however, the obscure parentage of this grape.

Syrah is related to Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche varieties, two grapes almost unknown to winemakers and wine lovers around the world.

8. Cold Soaking – The Secret To An Exquisite Syrah

Making Syrah wine is simple. Obtaining a worthy beverage is a whole different story. The secret to a great Syrah is cold soaking, which actually refers to the maceration of the grape skins in the grape juice for at least a week. In some cases, the maceration lasts for several weeks, depending on the result winemakers want to achieve.

This process enhances the fruity aromas of the wine while it lowers the content of tannins and the herbal aromas. At the same time, cold soaking is responsible for the intense dark red color of the wine.

9. A Vintage Wine

Syrah is one of the darkest wines. It impresses with its intense ruby red with violet reflections and with its high alcoholic concentration. But a thing to know about this wine is that you’ll have to wait before you can taste it.

Syrah needs time to develop its body and characteristics. That’s why most Syrah wines are ready for consumption after a minimum of five years.

10. Peculiar Pairings

Thanks to its full body and peculiar flavors, Syrah pairs wonderfully with peculiar foods. Don’t serve it with a traditional stake. Try instead to pair it with a juicy blue cheese hamburger. Morrocan lamb is another dish that pairs well with Syrah.

And if you want to impress your better half with your cooking skills, flavor your food with Provencal herbs and pair it with a glass of Vintage Syrah.

About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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