Grape Varieties of Argentina
Syrah is the classic component of great Rhone wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape and Hermitage.
It is a thick and dark-skinned grape that typically produces fairly dense wines that are tannic, acidic, and full of berry fruit flavours – blackberries, raspberries. Gamey characteristics, black pepper and other spices such as vanilla and cinnamon, herbaceous notes such as liquorice, eucalyptus and mint are also frequently observed.
However, as another climate-sensitive variety, Syrah wines may be bright red or deep and dark with body and fruit characteristics to match. When ripe and concentrated, and subjected to oak aging, Syrah is often ascribed chocolate and coffee flavours. (This is the style generally associated with hot-climate Australian Syrah/Shiraz).
In Argentina, Syrah is inclined to ripen fairly early. This characteristic is a logistical problem for some producers during harvest season, leading them to conclude that the variety is not worth the trouble. However, some vineyards slow the ripening of their Syrah, for example through the use of overhead trellis systems to allow foliage to filter the sunlight, slowing the ripening of the grapes. This allows Syrah to be harvested in mid-March along with a vineyard's other varieties.