from the Cellar10 Interesting Facts about Syrah (Shiraz)

  1. Syrah (aka SHIRAZ) originates from France’s Rhône Valley dating back to the middle of the FIRST CENTURY (CE).
  2. The Rhône valley is divided into two sections, north and south–and, while the two areas are quite different, syrah is the predominant red grape in both.
  3. In the northern Rhône, syrah is the ONLY red grape grown.
  4. Most of the Syrah produced in northern Rhône contains small amounts of white grape juices. Sometimes its required, sometimes its encouraged.
  5. South Rhône has a more diverse grape usage than Northern Rhône.
  6. In general, the red wines of the southern Rhône feature a blend of the grapes grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre (GSM), but may also include the grapes cinsault and carignan.
  7. Grenache is the primary grape in a southern Rhône red wine.
  8. As for the name “shiraz” (as opposed to “syrah”), there are several legends about its origins. At least two of these stories declare that the Syrah grape is actually native to modern day Iran (Persia).
  9. The grape commonly known as “petite sirah” is not a smaller version or clone of syrah. Petite Sirah was created much MUCH later in the 1860s. In comparison to Sirah, it has: smaller berries, thicker skins, fuller bodied, more tanic. Often blended with grape Zinfandel.
  10. Outside of France, Syrah is now produced in Italy, Spain, the US, South Africa & Australia.