The Syrah grape, which is more commonly known as Shiraz, is grown throughout the world. It is a leading varietal in red wine production. The origins of the Shiraz grape have been analysed and traced and it has a DNA mix between two rare grapes from the southeast of France.
One of the two grapes, Dureza, has all but disappeared from modern vineyards, but the other, Mondeuse Blanche, is still found in small numbers in a few vineyards in France.
The name of the grape, Syrah, is used in its home country of France, as well as in the rest of Europe. It was only thanks to Australia that the name Shiraz came to be. Once the Australians began producing their wines named Shiraz, the grape itself became known with the same name too.
With regards to the growing popularity of the grape, this is largely thanks to wines that were made in Hermitage, in northern Rhône. These wines have gathered an excellent reputation over the years, and are known to be both powerful and high quality in equal measure.
In 1831, the traveller James Busby, who originated from Scotland, visited the Continent and took cuttings from several vines back to his new home of Australia. He then went to work planting and cultivating the vines. Within just three decades of the grape’s arrival in the country, it became a key varietal. Australia produces some of the world’s most exceptional Shiraz-based wines.
Today, the grape is still the most popular grown in the whole of the northern Rhône. It is used in a number of classic wines which are drunk all over the world. It is quite popular for use as a blending grape, thanks to its ability to work well with other varietals to form a fuller and more textured wine. It has a quality to make up for full-bodied characteristics that other grapes often lack.
The wines that the Shiraz grape are a part of tend to have incredibly concentrated flavours, and as a result of this they are much better if they have been aged for a period of time – usually recommended to be about 15 years, or longer if possible.
Over the years, Shiraz wine has grown in popularity, and thanks to the taste of the grape this is a trend that is only set to continue. This is great news for vineyards that still choose to specialise in this type of grape – as they can be sure that doing so is a good investment into the future of their business.