Syrah grows vigorously, mid-ripens, and the small berries must be harvested in a very short period of time before they shrivel. Careful trellising and training protect Syrah from spring winds. It is unsuited to soils that are high in active lime content. These are generic growing characteristics of this varietal. Rootstock selection will impact the production, ripening and growth patterns of any varietal material.
The wine has gentle tannins and a more obvious weight on the mid-palate. The flavors consist of leather, licorice and tar, and when harvest unripe, black pepper. When harvested fully ripe, blackberry.
Syrah could derive it's name from it's synonym Sérine, deriving from the Latin serus, meaning "late-ripening", which derives from ser- an Indo-European root, indicating a long period of time. A fashionable alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah is one of the older varieties, mentioned as early as 1781. Syrah is a natural cross between Mondeuse Blache and Dureza, and a great-grandchild to Pinot.