Syrah, or Shiraz as the grape is known in Australia (and increasingly elsewhere too) has an exotic history. Thought to be of Middle Eastern origin, it is very possible that the grape was originally grown in the area which includes the ancient city of Shiraz which lay to the south east of what is now Iran. The vine was probably brought to Marseilles by the Romans or the Phocaeans and was certainly established in the Rhône Valley in the latter part of the Roman occupation. Syrah reached Australia rather later in the 1830s where it was to find another great home. Today about 40% of all red wine plantings in Australia are of the Shiraz grape variety.
Syrah is a grape that produces wine that is dark coloured and dense with wonderful smokey and spicy characteristics - attributes which have made it very popular amongst those who appreciate full rich fruit flavours. But with modern wine making techniques it can be produced to be everything from a medium weight crisp red to a classic powerful blockbuster like an Australian Barossa Shiraz or even a Hermitage from the Rhône. This is undoubtedly one of the world's classic grape varieties.