Through the years legends about the origins of Shiraz or Syrah as it is often called, have abounded. There was a time when it was generally believed that this grape variety originated in ancient Persia (present-day Iran) in the town of Shiraz. Historians were of the opinion that it was brought from the Middle East to Marseilles in approximately 560 BC. One of the theories was also that Roman legions from Egypt carried it to Syracuse on the island of Sicily and yet another that it found its way into France through Crusaders from Cyprus returning from the Middle East in the 13th century.
However, these turned out to be nothing but romantic tales as in the late 90’s it was declared that Shiraz actually originated in France. Using DNA testing, grapevine identification experts Carole Meredith, a professor at the University of California at Davis, and Jean-Michel Boursiquot of L’Ecole Nationale Superiore Agronomique de Montpellier, made the conclusive announcement in 2001 at a convention of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture. Shiraz, it was proclaimed, is the offspring of two obscure French varieties, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche – the former native to the Ardéche and the latter native to the Savoie.