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Its history in the Côte-Rôtie

Tradition tells that the Romans brought the vines with them from the Orient, which they planted on the Ampuis hillsides, forming the origin of our Syrah grapes. The Serine d'Ampuis and the Syrah de l'Hermitage were only acknowledged as a single grape variety in the last century.

However, for some time now, researchers have thought that Syrah came from the Lambrusques (wild vines), patiently harvested and selected by the Allobroges. Archaeology and ampelography support this hypothesis on the dauphinois origins of Syrah. Three observations corroborate the theory: the region's original grapes, the location of Syrah, the extreme variability of this variety within our region (that does not support the idea that a few plants were imported as they could not produce the same diversity).

The same researchers believe that the Mondeuse Savoyarde is related to Syrah, descendants of a single "protomondeuse" ancestor: without a doubt the "vitis allobrogica" introduced by the Roman agriculturalist, Columella.

To date, genetic analysis carried out by Californian researchers and the Montpellier ENSA-INRA have shown beyond doubt that Syrah can trace its roots back to the Rhone Valley. They proved that the parents of this variety are the Mondeuse Blanche and the Dureza (a black grape).

Syrah’s international expansion

Syrah is a red grape variety that is characteristic of the northern Côtes-du-Rhône, and is the main variety in Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and Saint-Joseph. It is also the sole grape used in Cornas. The Côte-Rôtie blends Syrah and Viognier. Long forgotten outside of its home terroir due to its low yield and susceptibility to disease, Syrah went on to spread throughout the Rhone Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and the South-West. In 2006, Syrah covered some 68,000 hectares in France, more than 50% of which are in Languedoc-Roussillon. Syrah is also grown in Australia, Argentina, South Africa, California, Chile, New Zealand and Mexico: that makes over 140,000 hectares worldwide.

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