The red grape variety comes from Azerbaijan and is named after the village of the same name in the northeastern region of Shirvan. Synonyms are Gara Shira, Kara Shirei, Madrasa, Matrassa, Medrese, Qara Shira and Sevi Shirai. The medium ripening vine with thick-skinned berries is resistant to frost, drought and fungal diseases. It produces dark red wines with high alcohol and tannin content, which are aged dry, sweet and spritzy. The variety has been cultivated in Azerbaijan at least since the 19th century and in Armenia mainly near the Caspian Sea. In the Ukraine it is also used for Crimean sparkling wine. In 2010, however, only in Kazakhstan 28 hectares of vineyards were designated (Kym Anderson).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012