Que Syrah Sirah! Syrah and Petite Sirah are wonderful BBQ and campfire wines. Their smokiness and deep berry notes make them the perfect red wines for these summertime settings. A few weeks ago, I created a video to explain the difference between the two grapes and wines.
I was very pleased that a Petite Sirah expert, Jo Diaz of PS I Love You, took the time to send me some corrections to my video. The result is that I now know a lot more about Petite Sirah, which makes me very happy.
In this article, I’m pleased to share with you what I learned from Jo.
|What I Said in my Video||New and Improved Information|
|Who created Petite Sirah?||Francois Durif did in the late 1800s – I pronounced his last name as it is spelled.||Francois Durif – his last name is actually pronounced Dur-eef.|
|What was Durif’s intent when he created his new grape?||Durif wanted to create a Syrah-like grape that wasn’t prone to mold.||Durif wanted to create a Syrah-like grape that wasn’t prone to mold. To do this, he crossed Syrah and Peloursin.|
|What were the results of the new Durif grape?||The Durif grape was a Syrah-like grape that wasn’t prone to mold but that produced bad wine.||The Durif grape was a Syrah-like grape that wasn’t prone to mold but was prone to bunch rot, which was problematic in the damp Rhone Valley. The cluster’s berries are so tight that they don’t allow for any aeration. When it’s wet and/or rainy, like it can be in France, it can take down a whole vineyard.|
|Why does the Durif grape (a.k.a. Petite Sirah) do so well in CA?||In Napa, the Durif grape was planted next to other grapes, which likely and happily had a positive impact on the grape.||Grapes planted next to each other can’t impact each other’s DNA. (Oops. My bad.) In sunny California, bunch rot isn’t a problem. So Durif grapes (a.k.a. Petite Sirah) flourish. Also, modern-day winemaking practices, such as cold soaking during fermentation, make the wine’s tannins softer, producing much better Petite Sirah.|
The beauty of wine is that there is always more to learn. When you can find wonderful people like Jo Diaz who generously share their wine knowledge, everybody is better off. Three cheers to Jo! Three cheers to Petite Sirah!