Name of the variety in France
This variety is seemingly originally from the northern Côtes du Rhône or the Dauphiné region. Based on published genetic analyses, it would be the result of crossbreeding between Mondeuse blanche and Dureza.
In France, this variety can officially be called "Shiraz" or "Serine" regarding plant propagation material. Syrah is officially designated as "Shiraz" in Cyprus, Germany, Italy and Malta.
En France, la Syrah is officially listed in the "Catalogue of vine varieties" on the A list and classified. This variety is also listed in the catalogues of other Member States of the European Union: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
Wine grape variety.
Evolution of cultivated areas in France
The identification is based on:
- the tip of the young shoot with a high density of prostrate hairs,
- the green young leaves,
- the shoots with a ribbed surface and long green internodes,
- the adult leaves with five lobes, open lateral sinuses, an open petiole sinus with sometimes naked petiole veins, short to medium teeth with convex sides, no anthocyanin coloration of veins, a sometimes goffered leaf blade, and on the lower side of the leaves, a low to medium density of prostrate hairs,
- the ellipsoid berries.
Bud burst: 7 days after Chasselas.
Grape maturity: mid-season, 2 weeks and a half after Chasselas.
Suitability for cultivation and agronomic production
This variety produces long shoots that are fragile to the wind in spring and must be carefully trellised. In most cases, short pruning is sufficient in southern zones. Syrah is sensitive to chlorosis, poorly adapted to soils with high active limestone content. Then, grafting onto 110 R must absolutely be avoided. This variety ripens quickly, resulting in a relatively short véraison-ripeness period. The optimum harvest period is short and is evaluated not only by considering sugar and acidity concentrations, but also by the weight of the berries, bunches and berry analysis, and berry tasting.
Susceptibility to diseases and pests
Syrah is not very susceptible to downy mildew but is rather sensitive to mites and grey rot, especially at the end of the ripening period. This variety has a specific decline behavior, characterized by leaf reddening combined with at the grafting point, which can in the long term cause the vine trunks to die. To date, the causes remain unknown and no disease causative agent have been identified, but significant behavioral differences between clones have been noted.
The bunches are small to medium in size and the berries are small. Syrah can produce great quality red wines with a fairly high alcohol degree, that are suited to ageing. This variety gives very aromatic, fine, tannic, robust, complex (spices, violet, olive, leather-animal, etc) wines with relatively low acidity (pH is sometimes rather high, particularly on schist soils), which tend to have an intense (blue-toned) color. Syrah also produces very fruity and interesting rosé wines.
Clonal selection in France
The nine certified Syrah clones carry the numbers 470, 471, 524, 747, 1140, 1141, 1188, 1345 and 1346.
A conservatory of more than 600 clones was planted in 1995 in the French department of Drôme. An additional conservatory of 50 or so clones was planted in 2002 in the French department of Rhône.
- Catalogue des variétés et clones de vigne cultivés en France. Collectif, 2007, Ed. IFV, Le Grau-du-Roi, France.
- Documentary collections of the Centre de Ressources Biologiques de la Vigne de Vassal-Montpellier, INRAE - Montpellier SupAgro, Marseillan, France.
- Dictionnaire encyclopédique des cépages et de leurs synonymes. P. Galet, 2015, Ed. Libre&Solidaire, France.
- Traité général de viticulture, Ampélographie. P. Viala and V. Vermorel, 1901-1909, Ed. Masson, Paris, France.