The Noble Syrah Grape

I would like to finalize the harvest episode of this year with pictures of a very special grape: The Syrah

Syrah close-up

Special because it is the first harvest of this variety that Montau has planted only three years ago. The Syrah, notorious for its ability to grow on different soils and in different climates, seemed to have adapted itself very well to the Garraf terroir and to the Mediterranean weather. It flourishes especially on poor soils and when given lots of sun; conditions that only strengthened the winemaker’s decision to go for the Syrah since the Penedes not only offers a poor but calcareous soil but above all the adequate Mediterranean temperature required from the Syrah to prosper.

Special because the Syrah used to be exclusive French and Australian patrimony before it started extending itself throughout the world and throughout Spain in the early 80’s. Thus there is a lot of speculation regarding its origin whether the northern Rhone region or the Iranian city of Shiraz can claim its derivation. Some legends romanticize its descent by creating myths of how the variety had been brought to France from Persia however these myths lack proper evidence as they primarily base themselves on the grape name’s orthography and etymology. There are numerous synonyms like Antourenein Noir, Balsamina, Candive, Entournerein, Hignin Noir, Marsanne Noir, Schiras, Sirac, Syra, Syrac, Serine, and Sereine that are actually used in various parts of the world.

Most researchers nonetheless argument in favour of the Syrah’s French origin due to the certain fact that the grape was the breed of the local French father grape Dureza and mother grape Mondeuse Blanche. Certain is as well the Syrah’s establishment in the Rhône vineyards of Tain l’Hermitage by the 13th century as well as its second great establishment in Australia in the 1860’s. Today it is the world’s 7th most grown variety being cultivated primarily in France and Australia but also in the rest of Europe and in the New World. Due to its massive extension it is impossible to generalize its flavour and its aroma that varies depending on the soil and climate it has grown on and with.

Generally speaking we can point out its dark almost black colour and its high acidity and high tannins whereas the rest depends on the climate. In warmer countries the Syrah develops sweeter aromas that remind of blackberry and liquorice while milder countries like France furnish the grape with rather spicier and darker aromatic characteristics.

Harvesting the Syrah at first sight we can affirm that the grape looked healthy and well; we obtained little quantity with an approximate alcohol volume of 12,5% which is not bad at all for a first harvest. We do have great expectations though and hope to accomplish a powerful flavour that reflects Montau’s and somehow Spain’s personal way of viticulture.

I will definitely come back on this topic and keep you updated about the results and about the vine caring until the next harvest.  Until then enjoy some pictures of our Syrah taken a few days before the harvest.


Syrah Vines

Syrah Vineyards

Xavier Vendrell

One Response to “The Noble Syrah Grape”
  1. Elke dice:

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    great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
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