v. Petite Sirah
Sirah is an entirely different grape varietal than
"Syrah" (otherwise known as "Shiraz").
Sirah (also spelled as "Petite Syrah") is a black grape
varietal originating from the Rhone region of France. It is
a relative newcomer: created only in the 1880s by Dr.
Durif. In creating Petite Sirah, Dr. Durif crossed 2 ancient
Mediterranean varietals: Syrah (as the father plant) and Peloursin
(as the mother plant). Peloursin is no longer commercially grown.
France, Petite Sirah was commonly known as "Durif" (also
spelled as "Duriff") in tribute to its creator.
Ironically, Petite Sirah did not fare well in Rhone. Petite
Sirah is a very late ripening grape with a thin skin and hence
susceptible to the ravages of late season rains common in the
Rhone region. Although small quantities continue to be grown
and used in such wines as Chateauneuf du Pape, it is no longer
widely used in Rhone wines.
transported to California, Durif thrived under the new name of
Petite Sirah. It was called "Petite Sirah" because
it is a far less vigorous plant than Syrah. Otherwise Syrah
and Petite Sirah do not physically look alike. Petite Sirah
is best suited for truly Mediterranean climates with long and dry
harvesting seasons. Petite
Sirah is presently grown across California, but tends to do best in
Mendocino, Napa Valley and in certain parts of Sonoma.
Typically, Petite Sirah creates a wine of deeper color, richer
texture, stronger tannins and a flavor profile steeped more
towards spice and peppery red fruit when compared with Syrah.