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Petite Sirah grapes

Petite Sirah, Petite Syran or Durif, this wine has many names and many more fans. In North and South America, this wine grape is known as Petite Sirah, whereas for rest of the world, it is Durif.

Petite Sirah is a black- skinned red wine grape variety. The wines carry full- bodied flavors of chocolate, blueberry plums and black pepper.

The wine is also known for its deep color and high tannin levels.  Due to these factors, Petite Sirah is considered as an important grape variety for blends.

The wines of weak vintages got an amazing blending partner in Petite Sirah that added color as well as structure to the parent wine.

This grape variety is quite rare. It has only about ten thousand planted acres across the globe. It is generally produced in California.

Wine grape varieties

Apart from California, little portions of this wine grape are also grown in Austria, France and Israel.

It is the prominent grape variety in the United States of America and Israel.

As this grape variety is more susceptible to rot and produced a low quality wine, it went out of favor quite for some time, but regained its lost position.

Origin of Petite Sirah

The first ever evidence of this wine dates back to mid- 1800s in France. The credit of its discovery goes to Francois Durif, a French botanist, in the year 1860.

Durif’s nursery had many varities of grapes including Syrah and Peloursin. Petite Sirah was then born as a result of cross pollination between Syrah and Peloursin. This proved to be the biggest blessing for Francois Durif.

The cross variety was named Plant du Rif in the year 1868 by Victor Pulliat, which was later changed to Durif.

In the year 1996, the ampleographers of California identified the parent name of Durif, i.e., Syrah.

In the year 1884, Charles McIver, the owner of Linda Vistra Winery, took Durif to California and planted it along with some other French varities at Mission San Jose vineyard.

By the year 2000, there were about 3,200 planted acres of Durif. Today, the plantings in California have reached up to six thousand acres.

The wine is almost extinct in France now, but it grown in some other parts of the world like Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

Characteristics of Petite Sirah

The wine is known for its rich, intense and deep color. It produces most opaque red wines, curtsey, the very high levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin.

Petite Sirah gets maximum points for the color it lends to the wine.

Talking about the flavor of the wine, the dominant flavors are that of dark chocolate, blueberry, black pepper, sugar plum and black tea.

The flavors are bold and rich, and are a hallmark of Petite Sirah wine. The high fruitiness of the wine makes it even more desirable.

This high-bodied wine has very high levels of tannin. The natural content of alcohol in Petite Sirah is also quite high.

The wine carries medium acidity. The wine has a lot of structure and amazing mouth feel.

As far as aging is concerned the wine tends to lose its fruitiness as well as acidity within the first seven years.

Thus, it is a great contender for long term aging. If the amount of tannins and the acidity of the wine are in good poise, the wine ages to get better and better.

There are a few wines by a few producers that will age about ten to twenty years. Aged Petite Sirah tastes heavenly.

Food Pairings with Petite Sirah

The fruity notes of Petite Sirah go well with many herbs and vegetables, not to forget, cheese.

As the fruity flavors of this wine are quite bold, paring them with bold spices and herb balance the sweetness well and bring out the best of both worlds.

The wine tastes best with vegetables like sautéed mushrooms, black beans, eggplant, caramelized onion, currants and stuffed peppers. The wine goes great with vindaloo curry.

Herbs and spices like all spice, blackpepper, clove, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, lavender, chili pepper, juniper and cocoa pair best with this wine.

Cheese like aged gouda, French mozzarella, melted Swiss cheese and camembert go well with Petite Sirah.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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