Italy Today

Exploring the virtues of Cortona Syrah

The jewel of Tuscan vineyards

Exploring the virtues of Cortona Syrah

Claudia Astarita

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Besides the breath-taking landscapes at the seaside, mountains, countryside and historical cities, Italy is very much appreciated for its food and Tuscany is one of the best regions to visit.

Tuscany is very famous for a number of delicious food and wine products. Some well-known examples are Chianina beef, extra virgin olive oil, Cantucci biscuits and a wide range of wines, such Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vin Santo and Sangiovese.

However, very few people know that Cortona hosts one of the best Syrah vineyards. In fact, during the Napoleonic Era, many grape varieties from France arrived in Italy. Among them, the vineyards of Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon started to be planted alongside the Italian ones. Over the decades, Cortona turned out to be a great environment for Syrah to grow. Its position on a valley freshened by the breezes from Lake Transimeno make Cortona similar to the Côtes du Rhône region, where Syrah comes from originally.

After many years, it seems fair to say that Syrah in Cortona is not an imported product anymore; instead it is a fully local one. Besides the French name, the grape is Italian and it won the DOC status in 1999. Cortona Syrah presents typical characteristics of Italian wines from Tuscany, such as the equilibrate mix between freshness and richness due to hot day temperatures, essential for balanced wines. As you enjoy a glass of Cortona Syrah, you can taste hints of red fruit and forest berries, flowers, tobacco and dark chocolate. Sometimes, even a bit of liquorice, spice and mint. Cortona Syrah beautifully goes with meat and if you want to stick with Tuscany, better match it with Bistecca alla Fiorentina or Pici al Ragù di Chianina.

In spite Syrah is on the forefront of wine production in Cortona, local vintners Syrah have also produced the varieties of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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