For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Sue Courtney » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:51 pm

Bob Ross wrote:I'm not sure that the "Shiraz" name accompanied the grape cuttings to Australia with Busby, David.

The earliest references in Australian sources I've seen are to "Scyras"; see for example Australia as it is: Its Settlements, Farms, and Gold Fields, by Francis Lancelott, 1852, and an 1840s source I've misplaced by Sir William Macarthur. Folks I've spoken with believe Australians converted "Scyras" into "Shiraz", so that today "Shiraz" is considered strine for "Scyras".

Both Peter May at http://www.winelabels.org/artsyr.htm
and Robin Garr at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wines/wt011401.shtml
as well as many other authors buy into this explanation.

If you have any early Australian evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it.

Linguist history aside, both Peter's and Robin's links are very interesting additions to this month's Wine Focus.

Regards, Bob


Bob,
It might be written Shiraz, and a lot of us pronounce it as shir-razz but I think you will find a lot of Aussie winemakers (or maybe perhaps just the older ones) actually pronounce it Shir-raah - which i think is pretty interesting.
Cheers,
Sue
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Jackson Brooke » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:01 pm

Bob,
It might be written Shiraz, and a lot of us pronounce it as shir-razz but I think you will find a lot of Aussie winemakers (or maybe perhaps just the older ones) actually pronounce it Shir-raah - which i think is pretty interesting.
Cheers,
Sue


I am only young, and generally have only worked with young winemakers' which may be why I have never heard any winemakers call it Shir-aah, many however, particularly in some of the cooler regions of Australia are deciding to revert to calling their wines Syrah rather than Shiraz on the label (this is supposed to define the wine style as different from the big, bold, ripe shiraz of the Barossa and M'Claren Vale).
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:44 pm

Thanks, Sue. The Australian Consulate invited me to one of their annual wine events -- I'm planning to go, and I'll listen carefully with your pronunciation guide in hand. Great info -- thanks. Bob
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:46 pm

"... some of the cooler regions of Australia are deciding to revert to calling their wines Syrah rather than Shiraz on the label (this is supposed to define the wine style as different from the big, bold, ripe shiraz of the Barossa and M'Claren Vale)."

Thanks for chiming in Jackson. We had a long thread awhile back which concluded that the words Syrah and Shiraz were more and more being used to describe a style of wine rather than national preferences. I've seen some French wines called "Shiraz".

It's great to see you posting here. Welcome.

Regards, Bob
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:17 pm

David, here's the Busby reference I mentioned earlier:

JOURNAL OF A RECENT VISIT TO THE PRINCIPAL VINEYARDS OF SPAIN AND FRANCE.
WITH SOME REMARKS ON THE VERY LIMITED QUANTITY OF THE FINEST WINES
PRODUCED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND THEIR CONSEQUENT INTRINSIC VALUE;
AN ATTEMPT TO CALCULATE THE PROFITS OF CULTIVATING THE VINE ;
I CATALOGUE OF THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF GRAPE; AND AN ESTIMATE OF THE
PROFITS OF MALAGA FRUITS; TOGETHER WITH OBSERVATIONS RELATIVE TO THE INTRODUCTION OF
THE VINE INTO NEW SOUTH WALES. BY JAMES BUSBY, ESQ. Published 1834
Smith, Elder

The best red wines of Hermitage are made exclusively from one variety,
and the white wines from two varieties ; but in the district
generally a much greater number of varieties are cultivated.
The Red Grape is named the Ciras *. The white
varieties are the Roussette and the Marsan. The former
yields by itself a dry and spirituous wine, which easily
affects the head—the plant produces indifferently—the
latter yields a sweeter wine—they are mixed together to
produce the best white Hermitage.
The labour bestowed upon these vineyards is immense.
According to M. Machon, on their first plantation, and
every time the plantation is renewed, the soil is dug to the
depth of 4i or 5 feet. In most places it is also supported
by terraces. This was the first place, in the course of my
journey, in which I observed any supports given to the
vines, but these were simply a stake of about five feet in
height to each plant, and the shoots were tied together at
its top ; far from the care indicated by the small trellis of
the Medoc vineyards, this part of the labour seemed to be *
In the (Enologie Franfaise, a very minute and correct account of the
French vineyards, published in 1826, the name of this grape is spelt Scyras ;
and it is stated that, according to the tradition of the neighbourhood, the plant
was originally brought from Shiraz in Persia, by one of the hermits of the
mountain. Page 108.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Sue Courtney » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:49 am

Jackson Brooke wrote:
Bob,
It might be written Shiraz, and a lot of us pronounce it as shir-razz but I think you will find a lot of Aussie winemakers (or maybe perhaps just the older ones) actually pronounce it Shir-raah - which i think is pretty interesting.
Cheers,
Sue


I am only young, and generally have only worked with young winemakers' which may be why I have never heard any winemakers call it Shir-aah, many however, particularly in some of the cooler regions of Australia are deciding to revert to calling their wines Syrah rather than Shiraz on the label (this is supposed to define the wine style as different from the big, bold, ripe shiraz of the Barossa and M'Claren Vale).


I remember having a long conversation with John Hancock (Trinity Hill Wines, Hawkes Bay, NZ) about the pronunciation. An Australian-born and trained winemaker, Shirrah was the way he *used* to pronounce it. Of course, now he makes 'Syrah'.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Sue Courtney » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:53 am

Bob Ross wrote:David, here's the Busby reference I mentioned earlier:


Bob, Is this Busby reference online. I guess you know Busby is regarded as the father of New Zealand wine. He is regarded as NZ's first winemaker. He arrived in NZ in 1833 with many of the cuttings he picked up on his travels. Haven't seen that spelling 'Ciras' before. Very interesting.

Edited to change 1840 to 1833.
Last edited by Sue Courtney on Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:23 am

Jackson wrote.......Another Shiraz thinking on that is Ron Laughtons, Jaspar Hill out of Heathcote. He does a Georgies Blend and a Sally's blend (I think) - both exceptional if you can find them.

Jaspar Hill gets some shelf space here in AB but prices are up there.

As an aside I have always promoted Madfish in the restaurants I am involved with, a Howard Park label. Any comments here J?
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:36 am

Hey, Sue, I just found your great article on why the Aussies call it "Shiraz" at:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/nz/syrahshiraz.shtml

Some good research there. I've found some other info that casts a different light on the history -- I'll put a timeline up in a day or so after checking some sources. But there are really good leads in your piece. Thanks.

Regards, Bob
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:45 am

The Busby reference is online, Sue. I was going to add it to my timeline on the names for Shiraz/Syrah/Hermitage/Scyras, but as a thank you for your brilliant piece on the subject, here you go:

Link here.

You can also find it by searching on "JAMES BUSBY, ESQ." on Google; it will be the first Google Book hit, about eight items down the page.

REgards, Bob
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:08 am

Sue, since you've looked into this subject already, let me share a bit more with you -- researches are continuing of course.

The Shiraz/Scyras connection dates from 1833; it appears first as far as I know in History and Description of Modern Wines
By Cyrus Redding 1833

Hermitage is now produced from the Scyras, or Shiraz grape, supposed to have been originally Persian, the grape of Shiraz being the finest in the world. Page 20.

Red Hermitage is produced from two varieties of plants
named the little and great Scyras. A tradition is current
that this grape was brought from Schiraz, in Persia, by
one of the hermits of Bessas.
Page 115.

Redding was the major writer on wine and grapes in England for at least 20 years; his 1851 edition of the same book contains the same connection:

Sometimes chance, but oftener design, effected these changes which wrought novelties in the product. Thus a few slips of vines from Candrieu, of the Scyras grape, transferred to the granite declivities of Tain, gave, as the result, the generous
white and red Hermitage.
Page 30.

the Vionnier, grown at Condrieu with the Shiraz, or Scyras grape, said to have been brought from Persia, from whence the hermitage vines are taken. Page 47

Hermitage, as before observed, is produced from the Scyras, or Shiraz grape. Page 48.

Tradition says that an inhabitant of the town of Condrieu
determined to turn hermit, and established his cell on an
uncultivated hill near Tain. He amused his leisure hours by
breaking the stones and rocks to pieces which surrounded his
dwelling, and planting among them some vine-slips of the
vionnier species, from Condrieu. The shiraz, or scyras vine,
was afterwards introduced. It succeeded to admiration. The
hermit-s example was copied by others, and the sterile hillside
was soon converted into a vineyard.
Hermitage, a church wine in name, strength, and paternity, is grown on a hill near the town of Tain, in the arrondisse- ment of Valence, situated on the left bank of the Ehoue, with a southern aspect. It is a celebrated variety. The vines are grown upon slopes ; the principal elevation, of no great height, is called Bessas. It is part of a chain of granitic mountains which extend from St. Vallier to Tain. On the summit of Bessas may yet be seen the ruins of the retreat of the hermits, of whom the last died above a hundred years ago. Portions of the granite seem to be in a state of decomposition. This granite is crossed by veins of a gravelly texture, by one of a calcareous character, and by some of pure sand. Hermitage wine is divided into five classes. .....
Page 134.

My hero, Thomas George Shaw, writing ten years later, used the name "Hermitage" to describe both the grape and the wine.

In any event, the OED traces the history of "Syrah" as follows:

[< French syrah (20th cent.), earlier sirrah, {dag}sirac, {dag}syras (1845 or earlier), {dag}scyras (1827 or earlier), of unknown origin. Cf. earlier PETITE SIRAH n. Cf. also slightly earlier SHIRAZ n. 2 and discussion at that entry.]

The OED can push that 1827 date back one year to 1826, relying on Busby and the Enologie Franfaise he cites.

I'm intrigued that Syrah is a 20th century French creation; the first English appearance of "Syrah" I've found so far is:

WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, CHICAGO, ILL., 1893.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AWARDS OF THE WORLD'S COLUMBIAN COMMISSION.
SPECIAL REPORTS UPON SPECIAL SUBJECTS OE GEOUPS. IN TWO VOLUMES.
Vol. II.
WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 1901.

The Grosse Syrah or Hermitage grape, the Pir.eau, and Cabernet are made into dry red wines which are not without a certain pleasant flavor and possess a beautiful color, but are rough, strong in alcohol, and lacking in freshness.

The OED's support for the relatively recent appearance of Syrah is as follows:

The French name for the grape is syrah (scyras, sirrah are also found). The Eng. form is app. an alteration of this, influenced by the belief that the vine was brought (by Crusaders) from Iran and is therefore to be identified with that from which Shiraz (sense 1a) is made.


[1908 E. & A. VIZETELLY Wines of France 140 For red Hermitage the vine..is the Ciras, Scyras, or Sirrah, a corruption, it is alleged, of Shiraz, the tradition being that the hermit of the mount brought some vine cuttings with him from the East. The Ciras is, at any rate, a distinct variety.]

****

So, based on what I've found so far:

Redding was the first to use Shiraz/Scyras in 1833.

Busby used Scyras, and I haven't found any Australian or New Zealand sources that use Shiraz -- only Scyras uses until the 1860s.

I'm searching for early Shiraz uses in Australia, but my working hypothesis is that Redding is the source of the Shiraz name.

And, incidentally, I would love to know when and how Scyras became Syrah in France.

Regards, Bob

Incidentally, Macarthur used Scyras in 1840; no sign of Shiraz:
Letters on a Vine, published in 1840, Sir William Macarthur wrote:

"Scyras (No.45 of the private collection, but is no longer to be found in the Botanic Garden, although its name is in the catalogue). An excellent grape, and promises to be at least equally as valuable as the Verdelho is for white. This is the sort said to be chiefly cultivated on the celebrated hill of the Hermitage. It is a very hardy plant, produces well and seems to be liable to no accident or disease."

B.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:24 pm

Bob, as usual it is nice to start the day with some education and enlightenment. Reading your excellent posts is a highlight for me! Keep `em coming.

I think it is highly likely we will be reading a few blogs this month! So much info and personal wine stuff out there. I just found this one.....................!

http://www.terencepang.com
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:46 pm

The "T" word, here is something to get us started.

http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/articleid_1078.html
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:57 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote: As an aside I have always promoted Madfish in the restaurants I am involved with, a Howard Park label. Any comments here J?

To my mind, good commercial offerings (and that's not meant as the back-handed compliment it could be seen as :wink: ).

As a Piscean I had to pick a Madfish cap up when we visited a few years ago. Madfish, Weird fish - a sucker for them all!

The Howard Park cellar door in Marg River is quite a sight (Feng Shui & all that) but had some problems recently (subsidence?). Being shunted out to the winery proper didn't go down to well with the cellar door staff, as they were much less helpful/cheerful - our first visit within a year of their opening was a highlight, whilst our last was a disappointing lowlight. Hopefully they're re-housed again and have cheered up!

If you ever see the Leston (Marg River) and Scotsdale (Great Southern)Shiraz, then they might be worth a try - especially alongside each other as an exercise in assessing 'terroir' (IIRC they're made along similar lines).

regards

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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Sue Courtney » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:32 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Hey, Sue, I just found your great article on why the Aussies call it "Shiraz" at:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/nz/syrahshiraz.shtml

Some good research there. I've found some other info that casts a different light on the history -- I'll put a timeline up in a day or so after checking some sources. But there are really good leads in your piece. Thanks.

Regards, Bob


Thanks Bob,
I've been criticised for that piece for not mentioning the DNA findings of the source of the grape - but it was written before the DNA results were known / or widely known. Many many thanks for the Busby link. Some of his books I have read, e.g. The Treatise, but they are in the rare books collection at the University of Auckland library, and you can only read them there.
Shiraz has occasionally been used on NZ wine labels, but only in the recent era, I think. It was more likely called 'Hermitage' in the olden days.
Cheers,
Sue
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Jackson Brooke » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:45 pm

I remember having a long conversation with John Hancock (Trinity Hill Wines, Hawkes Bay, NZ) about the pronunciation. An Australian-born and trained winemaker, Shirrah was the way he *used* to pronounce it. Of course, now he makes 'Syrah'.


We had a talk from John Hancock on our N Island tour and Trinity Hill make some good wine. It's interesting I haven't come across that pronounciation - I must not be talking to the right people? - however I am young too so maybe I haven't been around the traps long enough.javascript:emoticon(':?')
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Jackson Brooke » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:52 pm

As an aside I have always promoted Madfish in the restaurants I am involved with, a Howard Park label. Any comments here J?


I've seen and sold both, however I can only recall trying The Howard Park. I believe Ian probably has more experience with these ones. From what I recall they were reasonable well priced, for the value they offered.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Jackson Brooke » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:58 pm

The "T" word, here is something to get us started.

http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/articleid_1078.html


I have at home, and have read most of this book - it's fascinating reading but gets very technical and scientific. Robert White is essentially putting scientific evidence forward for the interpretation of terroir and if I recall correctly may even include the entire climate of a region (as the french intend the word) rather than just the soil. I can look up any specific questions concerning the books content if anyone's interested - so long as it's not to detailed?

As for the 'T' word, that must has been a previous, and probably will be a future forum topic, so I shall hold my piece until then.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:59 am

Jackson wrote....As for the 'T' word, that must has been a previous, and probably will be a future forum topic, so I shall hold my piece until then.

The dreaded "T" word debate has resulted in some very big arguements over here, but not on this forum I might add. The other place had some real fistycuffs last year!!!
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:28 am

Well, I did manage this afternoon to briefly taste some real Gobby Gunk Mitolo Shiraz at DeVines downtown. Without even knowing that I was on a shiraz rampage this month, the owner said "Bob you are not going to like these!". Big fruit bombs which made my eyes water, emotional experience forumites! All `05s, namely Savitar, Jester, G.A.M., Reiver.

On the New Arrival table I saw a 3 Rings Shiraz from Chris Ringland. $35 and 15.5%alc.


I did not take any notes as I was in a rush to get down to the Grill and help out. I did enjoy the Mulderbosch Cab Sauv Rose, a very nice tipple.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby PaulC » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:04 pm

Firstly, I will nail my colours to the mast, I am not a lover of the jammy style Aussie Shiraz.
I was however treated to a revalation by a good friend, who brought up much of the remaining stocks of the .............. '98 Bannockburn Shiraz.
This is no ordinary shiraz, made from grapes donated from many great producers after hail decimated the Bannockburn shiraz vinyards, it has an almost Bordeauxesque nose and taste, lovely wine and a great ringer!
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:10 pm

PaulC wlcome to the WLDG. Good to have a person who is unafraid to make a statement. I think you will find most people here are in agreement with you. Stick around and join the fun!
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:03 pm

Yeah welcome Paul C. You live in a nice area, have visited Sark in my youth.
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Re: For October: Oz Shiraz, it's NOT all Gobby Gunk!

Postby PaulC » Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:35 pm

Thanks, I will
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