Syrah: the flavourful grape with gloomy origins

May 9, 2018

The Syrah grape has some murky origins; even though science and history didn’t come up with a conclusive idea on where the grape was first cultivated, this dark-skinned, red grape remains one of the widely known in the old and new world.


Persia: The legend starts from its name, linked to the capital of the Persian Empire, Shiraz, where a wine called Shirazi was produced and then brought to Rhône.


Syracuse: In 710 B.C., according to Diodoro Siculo, this variety was brought to Syracuse by Agatocle, associating its origins with Egypt. It was believed that Cleopatra had a passion for this wine.


France: Another version sees the nobleman Gaspard de Steimberg bringing this variety to the Tain region ( Côtes du Rhône) while returning from the Crusades in Cyprus.

In this climate the grape thrives and produces wines that, while not overwhelming, are packed full of tannins with generous flavours of ripe blackberries and strong hints of black pepper.


Sallier de la Tour  


In Camporeale, a territory in the middle of the DOC Monreale near Palermo, the Sallier de la Tour Estate raises in the middle of 77 hectares, 190 thousand vine plants, 500 olive groves and 3 lakes upon hills becoming the perfect home for the expression of Syrah.


A perfect blend of climate and soil types—in between rolling Sicilian hills and sea breeze—yield an elegant, well balanced wine with just the right amount of tannins, and hints of black pepper, blackcurrants and blackberries: wines with all the hallmarks of fresh, hilltop terroir alongside the dark subtleties of wines of the south.


This estate is a mixture of textures and soils, as well as fruit trees ranging from figs to pears to persimmons. The winery stands out—a rich terra cotta colour—against the green moat of herbs and vines. Sitting beneath the Eucalyptus trees, overlooking the vineyards, the olive trees appear to run like a river through the estate. 


The grape & the land


The Syrah grape is a big resistant cropper, a unique expression of Mediterranean-climate variety. With thick skin and high tannins, it usually produces dark, inky, aromatic reds with black fruit flavours and spicy notes.


Depending on the area of cultivation, it takes the characteristic of the soil and the climate, turning itself into different and singular interpretation. Interesting enough, it performs well both in cool and warm climate.


Cool climate: in these conditions, Syrah grapes ripen slower, developing greater acidity. It can result in a more elegant style, with rich memorable aromas like smoky, floral, minty or spicy, together with an acidic backbone and a peppery final touch.


Warm climate: the warmer it gets, the more the heat allows grapes to ripen quickly, with a higher sugar level and lower acidity. Changing the wine notes from raspberry to blackberry, chocolate and black fruit notes, developing tarry and gamey characteristic while ageing. 


La Monaca


The Estate’s cellar, named la Monaca, The Nun, takes its name from the hill that rises right behind it.

It was built at the beginning of the XX century, in the same period in which Pietro Paolo Beccadelli, the tenth prince of Camporeale, started the wine production in the nearby feud.


Apart from this, La Monaca is also the representative wine of this Estate .

An expression of Syrah that reflects perfectly the terroir, with deep, black, balsamic and spicy notes with a Mediterranean crispiness due to climate typical of coastal areas but surrounded by rolling hills.


The label of the Nun came after the four dedicated to the other wines of the estate. The route started with a gallery of "ancestors", a meeting between period costumes of the XVII and XVIII Century, mixed with the plants that nowadays surrounds Camporeale: agave, lemon, cactus, palm.


The portrait of the Nun was the natural consequence of this suggestion: an iconographic dress that re-proposed the features of a Sicilian aristocracy daughter destined for convent life. With a more contemporary, decisive, conscious face, with an eye to the future of Sallier de La Tour, without ever forgetting the story.


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