viernes, 13 de junio de 2014

The Discovery of the Natural Parents os the Grape Variety Syrah


Source: Wine Grapes (Jancis Robinson; Julia Harding; José Vouillamoz)

- Principal Synonyms: Candive (Bourgoin-Jallieu), Hermitage (Australia), Marsanne Noire (Saint-Marcellin), Petite Sirrah, Sérène (Isère), Serine, Sérine or Serinne (Côte Rôtie and Isère), Shiraz (Australia), Sira, Sirac, Sirah, Syra, Syrac.

- Varieties commonly mistaken for syrah: dureza, durif(called Petite Sirah in Cerdon in the Ain département, In Australia and in California), mondeuse noire, persan (called Sérine in Isère), serina e zeze (Albania), shesh i zi(Albania)


Syrah has a complex and surprising family background:

Syrah's most famous and historic home is in the vineyards of the northern Rhone, such as Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. It was first mentioned by Faujas de Saint-Fond (1781) under various spellings: ‘la Sira de L’Hermitage ... produit un vin agréable, généreux, stomachique et qui gagne en vieillissant: l’on peut ... y mêler une petite quantité de raisins blancs, ainsi qu'on le pratique à Tain. La Serine et le Vionnier de Côte-Rôtie seraient très-bien aussi’ ('Sira from Hermitage ... gives a nice, generous, appetizing and ageworthy wine: we can ... blend a small quantity of white grapes, as is done in Tain. Serine and Vionnier from Côte Rôtie would be suitable as well’). Sira de I'Hermitage and Serine from Côte Rôtie are simply local variations of Syrah (the variety and the name) although Saint-Fond clearly considered them to be different varieties. The name Syrah could derive, via its synonym Sérine, from the Indo-European root ser- indicating a long period, which gave the Latin strut, meaning 'late ripening' (André and Levadoux 1964).

Syrah begat DURIF through a natural crossing with PELOURSIN.

Zizak is occasionally used as a synonym for Syrah although it is also the name of a distinct Montenegrin variety .

- Syrah parents uncovered: In 1998, DNA parentage analysis carried out at the University of California at Davis and INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) in Montpellier, southern France, unexpectedly showed that Syrah is a natural cross between MONDEUSE blanche (mother) and dureza (father; Bowers et al. 2000). Mondeuse Blanche is a Savoie variety that used also to be cultivated in the Ain, Isère and Haute-Savoie départements, and Dureza is an Ardèche variety that was also formerly cultivated, together with Syrah, in the Drôme and the Isère. The crossing that gave birth to Syrah had to take place in a vineyard where both parents were cultivated together, making it very likely that this happened in the French Rhône-Alpes region, probably in the Isère (Meredith and Boursiquot 2008).

- Pinot, Probable Great-Grandparent of Syrah: Using a type of probabilistic analysis of DNA data that had never before been applied to grape genetics, Vouillamoz and Grando (2006) at the Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige in northern Italy have shown that DUREZA is a sibling of TEROLDEGO, an old variety from Trentino in northern Italy. This was the first evidence of a close genetic link between two varieties on different sides of the Alps. Since Syrah is a progeny of Dureza, it is therefore a nephew/niece of Teroldego. Vouillamoz and Grando have also detected a second-degree genetic relationship between PINOT and both Dureza and Teroldego, which means that Pinot could be their grandparent, grandchild, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece or half-sibling. Since Pinot was already known in France and in the Tyrol in the fourteenth century, its cultivation predates that of both Dureza and Teroldego and it is logical to consider Pinot as their ancestor, either their grandparent or their uncle/aunt. Therefore, Pinot is a very likely great-grandparent of Syrah, which challenges the supposition that they have completely different origins.

- Mondeuse Noire and Viognier in the Syrah Pedigree:
DNA parentage analysis has recently shown that MONDEUSE BLANCHE from Savoie has a parent-offspring relationship with both MONDEUSE NOIRE from Savoie/Haute-Savoie and VIOGNIER from the northern Vallée du Rhône (Vouillamoz 2008), which means that Mondeuse Noire and Viognier are either parents or offspring of Mondeuse Blanche. However, in the absence of the other parent, it is impossible to know which is the parent and which the offspring. As a consequence, three pedigrees are equally possible, as shown in diagram 2 opposite.

If MONDEUSE NOIRE is a parent of MONDEUSE BLANCHE through a natural cross-pollination with an unknown and probably extinct variety, then Mondeuse Noire must be a grandparent of Syrah and VIOGNIER (option A opposite), because the relationship Mondeuse.

Shyrah Pedigree Diagram 1

The parents os SYRAH were descovered by DNA parentage analysis in 1998. Close and unexpected genetic links with the Italian TEROLDEGO and the Burgundian PINOT were detected in 2006.

Syrah Pedigree Diagram 2

Parent-offspring relationship between MONDEUSE BLANCHE and MONDEUSE NOIRE and, more unexpectedly, between Mondeuse Blanche and VIOGNIER were discovered by DNA parentage analysis in 2008. Given the connections via unknown (and probably extinct) varieties (?), three genetically equivalent pedigrees could be drawn to explain these relationships.

Blanche = Mondeuse Noire x Viognier is rejected by DNA analysis. In this case, Viognierisa progeny of Mondeuse Blanche and a half-sibling of Syrah.

Conversely, it MONDEUSE NOIRE is a progeny of MONDEUSE BLANCHE through a natural cross-pollination with an unknown and probably extinct variety, then Mondeuse Noire is a half-sibling of Syrah (option B). In this case, VIOGNIER may either be the parent of Mondeuse Blanche, and a grandparent of Syrah and Mondeuse Noire, or Viognier could be a progeny ot Mondeuse Blanche as well, and thus a half-sibling of both Mondeuse Noire and Syrah (option C), the other parents of Viognier and Mondeuse Noire being distinct, unknown and probably extinct.

As a consequence, Syrah is either a grandchild or a half-sibling of both MONDEUSE NOIRE and VIOGNIER, which explains why Mondeuse Noire was called Grosse Syrah in the Drome region, and why all four varieties were clustered in the Serine ampelographic group (see p XXVII; Bisson 2009).

- Syrah´s most complete family tree: Keeping in mind that other pedigree reconstructions are theoretically possible for the reasons explained above, we propose the most plausible and comprehensive family tree for Syrah (see diagram 3 below): it is a natural progeny of mondeuse blanche and dureza, a half-sibling of viognier, a grandchild of MONDEUSE NOIRE, a niece/nephew of TEROLDEGO and a great-grandchild of PINOT.

Syrah Pedigree Diagram 3

The discovery of the natural parents, of SYRAH has put a stop to rumours about its eastern origins, and the family tie with PINOT challenges the view that they were introduced independently to Europe. Given the numerous connections via unknown (and probably extinct; varieties (?), inverse relationships are also possible and this diagram illustrates only one posible pedigree reconstruction.

 The genetic links discovered by paternity testing strongly anchor the origins of Syrah in the French Rhône-Alpes region.


Several hypotheses have been proposed for the origin of Syrah: Roman, Syrian, Greek, Sicilian, Albanian, etc.

- Allobrogica: Mentioned in the first century ad by Celsus, Columella and Pliny the Elder, Allobrogica was the name of a grape variety cultivated in the land of the Allobroges that stretched from Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) to Grenoble, and from the Haute-Savoie to Vienne (south of Lyon), where it was used for picatum (Latin for ‘sticky’, ‘pitchy’), a resinated wine made near Vienne, the location of Côte Rôtie today. For Pliny the Elder, Allobrogica was a late-ripening, black-berried grape cultivated in cold lands. Allobrogica has been identified with pinot by some authors, even though this variety has never been extensively cultivated in the land of the Allobroges, and by some others with Syrah or with mondeuse noire, because their distribution in the nineteenth century perfectly matched the cultivation area of Allobrogica.

In the nineteenth century, MONDEUSE noire was cultivated all over the land of the Allobroges, encompassing the entire distribution of Syrah.

However, linguist Jacques André and ampelographer Louis Levadoux suggested an alternative hypothesis: in Roman times, Allobrogica consisted of a population of ‘proto-Mondeuse’ that gave birth to mondeuse noire and Syrah, both being cultivated together for a long time (André and Levadoux 1964). Their proto-Mondeuse hypothesis could also explain the etymology of Syrah or Sérine from the Latin serus, meaning ‘late ripening’, which can be said of both varieties. DNA analysis of grape pips found in archaeological sites in the land of the Allobroges could shed some light on the identity of proto-Mondeuse, which could regroup the ancestors) of the Sérine ampelographic group.

- Ppliny the elder´s syricaca, a syrian origin for syrah?: For Pliny the Elder, Syriaca is a black version of the Aminea grape that grows in Syria, and his description was then used to propose that Syriaca could be an ancestor of Syrah.

- Shiraz, the persian legend: Shiraz or Chiraz was an important wine centre in ancient Persia (today’s Iran). It has often been speculated that Syrah was introduced from Persia to Marseille (Massilia) by the Phocaeans around 600 bc, or from Persia to the Vallee du Rhone by the Crusaders between 1095 and 1291. Since Shiraz is the Australian name for Syrah, some authors even argued that the Australians had maintained the original name while the French had Frenchified it. However, the Shiraz hypothesis is doubtful, not least because the Crusades were mainly focused on the Holy Land and did not go as far as Persia.

- Sýra, the Greek island: Syros, also named Syra, is a Greek island in the Kyklades (Cyclades) that has been proposed as the homeland of Syrah. However, no Syrah grape has ever been observed on this island.

- Syracuse, the sicilian track: Agathocles (361-289 BC), tyrant of Syracuse on the Italian island of Sicilia, is said to have initially brought Syrah to Syracuse from Egypt in 310 bc. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus (ad 232—82), regarded as the saviour of viticulture because he abolished the edict of Domitian (ad 51-96) that required the uprooting of half the vineyards outside Italy, is thought to have brought back Syrah from Syracuse when he took control of Lyon (Lugdunum) in ad 281.

- Serina, e zeze and shesh i zi, two albanian varieties supposedly related to syrah: Some Albanian farmers suggest that serina e zeze, an indigenous Albanian red grape, is identical to Syrah, simply because its name is similar to Serine, the old name for Syrah in the Côte Rôtie. However, the DNA profile of Serina e Zezë that was established by Greek-Albanian researchers Ladoukakis et al. (2005) shows no relation to Syrah, although it could be close or identical to Eftakoilo or Heftakilo, an old black-berried Greek table grape (Vouillamoz). Italian researchers also recently claimed to have shown by DNA analysis that Syrah is genetically close to another Albanian grape variety called shesh i zi, which is again rejected by DNA profiling (Vouillamoz).

In fact, thanks to DNA studies, we now know that the Syrian, Persian, Greek, Sicilian and Albanian hypotheses for the origin of Syrah are wrong.

A recent DNA study using newly developed genetic markers has suggested that Syrah and VIOGNIER are siblings (Myles etal. 2011) instead of half-siblings or grandparent and grandchild as above, but this would mean that Viognier is also a natural progeny of dureza and mondeuse blanche, which can be rejected by DNA parentage analysis based on microsatellite markers (Vouillamoz).

Syrah was used to breed RUBIN.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario