Syrah Growing Regions
Syrah Growing Regions
The Marquis de Griñón began the cultivation of this variety in Spain in 1982, with the help of the winemaker Emile Peynaud. This variety was first cultivated in what is now the DO Dominio de Valdepusa in Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha.
It has been slowly spreading since 1982, with the initial production of single-variety Syrah wines in Jumilla and Alicante. This grape has been significantly adapted to the DO (Denomination of Origin) of the Valencian Community and Murcia, and goes perfectly with Monastrell in blended wines. In Aragon (Cariñena, Calatayud, Campo de Borja), Somontano and Catalonia (Priorato, Montsant, Terra Alta, Tarragona), Syrah has blended well with Grenache and Carignan. It has also been established in the Balearic Islands. The growth of this variety in Spain during the 2000s has been remarkable. In 1990 there were only 4 hectares of Syrah, but by 2009 the total had grown to 19,045 hectares.
In Italy, the Syrah grape is cultivated in Tuscany (for example, DOC Cortona), Lazio (Pontine Lagoons) and Apulia (IGT Syrah Tarantino). In addition, DOC Sirah Piemonte is also produced. In Sicily, Syrah wines are blended with Nero d’Avola to create a soft and spicy drink that has become highly sought after in international markets.
The grape was first planted in Switzerland in 1926, and by 2009 it had become the sixth most popular red grape in the country, occupying 181 hectares of land. It is mainly cultivated in the canton of Valais, along the highest part of the Rhone Valley, upstream of Lake Geneva, and produces “wines rich in ripe vines”.
U.S. wine regulations allow winemakers to use the name “syrah” or “shiraz” interchangeably for the same grape variety. Syrah first appeared in California in the 1970s, when a group of winegrowers calling themselves “Rhône Rangers” planted it. Although most of the Syrah vineyards in the United States are located in California, it is also increasingly cultivated in the state of Washington. Syrah plays an important role in many American wine-growing areas in Washington State, such as Naches Heights and Walla Walla.
California wines are known to differ depending on the soil and climate of the vineyard. In some areas of the Napa Valley, wine is often mixed with others from the Rhone. On the other hand, in areas with more mountainous terrain, monovarietal wines are produced. Syrah was first brought to Washington State in 1986 thanks to a collaboration between Red Willow Vineyard, Woodwinville (owned by Washington Columbia Winery) and a wine connoisseur named David Lake. This variety spread rapidly and has been used to make monovarietal and multivarietal wines, such as those containing Garnacha, Cinsault and Viognier.
Syrah plantations in Argentina have experienced impressive growth, going from less than 1,000 hectares in 1990 to 9,500 hectares in 2002. In Argentina, Syrah is often mixed with Malbec to create an Argentinian version of Australian Cabernet-Syrah. This has created a new market in Argentina, where wines are made with a lighter and more refreshing style. The most suitable areas for this type of grape are Mendoza and San Juan, where intense sunlight helps preserve its purity. These two regions account for 90% of all the hectares of Syrah in the country, which amount to 12,809 hectares, a figure much lower than the 200,000 hectares of vineyards in Argentina as a whole.
In 2005, there were 2500 hectares of Syrah. Currently the figure is 7,400 ha (ODEPA 2020)
The plantation of Syrah vines in South Africa has increased dramatically over the years, from 1% of the vineyards in 1995 to 9.7% in 2007 and occupying a total area of 9,856 ha. In South Africa, the variety is mainly called shiraz, while syrah is used for Rhône-style wines. This variety is considered to be the “savior” of South African wines.