This superb red variety from the northern Rhône in France has found great success around the globe. It delivers full-bodied, rich wines that have excellent tannins and complex aromas, including black cherries, various spices and herbs, violets like flower aromas, liquorice and even humus. DNA profiling in 1999 found Syrah to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche.
Syrah (also known as Shiraz, mainly in New World) is one of the world’s major grape varieties. Due its growing popularity during last 20 years the world’s surface area planted to Syrah/Shiraz increased by nearly 15 times. Mainly for historical reasons but also due to terroir preconditions as much as almost half of all world’s Syrah plantations are today in France; another half is mainly grown in the New World countries.
Though slower to discover Syrah, wineries around the Mediterranean basin began to show interest in the variety in the early 1960s. Today in Italy, by the number of hectares planted Tuscany maintains second place right after Sicily.
The variety was in Tuscany, reputed according to the scientific analysis of the day to show good tolerance of peronospora desease, which was destructive havoc in those years. It was present in the areas of Pisa (where it used for various purposes) and of Lucca (where it would be a component of the Montecarlo DOC), but the inland provinces of Arezzo and Florence welcomed it too (where it was mostly used as an aromatic and coloring agent in Chianti likes wines).
Probably, the greatest success of Syrah in Tuscany achieved on its coast. Nowadays, a plenty of producers starting from Lucca down to Grosseto use it as component for blends, bringing smoothness, specific aroma and deeper color to the wine, however there are also some great examples of Syrah varietal wines.