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Pinot Gris - Syrah

Pinot Gris - Syrah

Our Pinot Gris, or Malvoisie, comes from Austria and Switzerland. Josef Lentsch does remarkable things with the grape on its own and as part of a number of blends ranging from Auslese right through to Trockenbeernauslese. Heidi Schröck uses it in dry whites as do the Caves des Coteaux in Switzerland.

Pinot Gris, when made well, is a full-bodied wine which has a range of flavours that can go from ripe tropical fruit notes of melon and mango to some botrytis-influenced flavours. There are some excellent sweet Malvoisie wines made in Switzerland.

In the UK this grape is often overlooked or seen as an alternative to drinking Chardonnay in the summer. Please do not make that mistake. Almost as versatile as Riesling, Pinot Gris gives a wonderful opportunity to widen your wine knowledge and taste.

To prevent confusion and to preserve individuality, it was agreed that the word ‘Tokay’ could only refer to Hungarian grapes used in the making of that amazing sweet wine. So from 2007, both Tokay d’Alcase and the Tokay Pinot Gris became, straightforwardly, Pinot Gris. Yes, it is the same grape as Pinot Grigio although the two names can give a reasonable general description as to styles made with this grape, in a similar way to Syrah/Shiraz.

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  • Syrah Réserve Domaine des Muses

    A most impressive Syrah from one of the best
  • Syrah Classique Domaine des Muses

    Fresh and fruity Syrah with typical Muses complexity
  • Syrah de Sion, Maître de Chais - Réserve & Réserve Spéciale Provins

    A gorgeous Syrah from Provins.
  • Grauburgunder "Rothuttl" Weingut Gross

    Mature Pinot Gris from Steiermark.
  • Beerenauslese Josef Lentsch

    Lentsch's sweet wines are legend
  • Pinot Gris Josef Lentsch

    One of the best oaked Pinot Gris anywhere!
  • Polymnie Séduction Or Domaine des Muses

    An incredible dessert wine by our special darling Robert Taramarcaz. One of the best in Switzerland
  • Pinot Grigio DOC Kellerei Kurtatsch

    Pinot Grigio done right
  • Cayas, Syrah Barrique Cave Jean Rene Germanier

    A concentrated yet fresh Syrah.
  • Terre Vivante - Assemblage Rouge Gregor Kuonen et Fils

    BIG, big red from Gregor Kuonen.
  • L'Humaniste, Gamaret-Syrah Cave de Geneve

    A structured and fruit rich wine with peppery spice.
  • Electus Valais Mundi

    A wine created to raise expectations about Swiss wine to a whole new level.
  • Ruistal Varone

    Bold blend from Valais.
  • Edles Tal Franz / Christine Netzl

    pulls off the elusive combination of power and finesse.

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Another surprisingly interesting area for Syrah has turned out to be south-eastern Austria - in the hand of people like Netzl, Weninger and Gunter Triebaumer. But we haven't been able to secure some in recent years, as they sell it all to Vienna and Berlin.

Syrah is far from the easiest grape to cultivate. It has quite a high susceptibility to botrytis and mites and to an unknown disease which targets Syrah specifically ("I would too!" - Joelle). It also has a very short harvesting time when at full ripeness as it has small berries which tend to shrivel soon after that point. The slower ripening long season of the Swiss Valais is a boon when dealing with Syrah, giving a lot more ease at harvest time.

Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880. (We have one from Israel if you are curious)

Syrah produces wines with a wide range of flavour notes, depending on the climate and soils where it is grown, as well as other viticultural practices. Aroma characters can range from violets to berries (usually dark as opposed to red), chocolate, espresso and black pepper. No one aroma can be called "typical". With time in the bottle these "primary" notes are moderated and then supplemented with earthy or savoury "tertiary" notes such as leather and truffle.

There are a number of legends associated with the origins of Syrah, pretty much all of which have been disproven by the arrival of DNA testing. Despite this, they add a touch of romance to the grape. It was suggested that the grape came from the town of Shiraz in Persia (Iran), hence the use of that name in some countries. These legends differ according to whoever is telling the story but suggest the grape arrived in the Rhône in a few different ways - through traders bringing it to Marseilles (no evidence exists of any Syrah having been planted in that area), through a crusader bringing it back from the war (unlikely that he would have travelled as far as Persia from the Holy Land), brought to France by a Persian hermit, or brought to Gaul by Probus, the Roman Emperor.

In truth, it was probably born in the Rhone pre-Alps. Syrah is the natural child of Mondeuse Blanche, from Savoie and Dureza, an old and rare grape originating from Ardèche. It is a great-grandchild of Pinot and a grandchild of Mondeuse Noire as well as being a half-sibling of Viognier.

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