Monday, October 12, 2009

Syrah, Petite Syrah, Petite Sirah, oh my (but who really cares - they're all yummy)

I honestly can't tell you the difference between Syrah, Petite Syrah and Petite Sirah, but I know there's a difference. Moreover, a couple of different wine varieties have been called Petite Syrah (or Sirah), further complicating matters.

But here's what I do know - I've had a few Petite Syrahs over the year and I've generally enjoyed them. They're usually priced right because they're not one of the better known varietals, but they tend to exhibit some of the same blackberry, mocha and coffee flavors you get from the heartier red grapes.

This past Friday, I went to dinner with a couple of fellow wine lovers and after perusing the exhaustive list and asking our server, we ordered a bottle of Stag's Leap Petie Syrah. All I can say is yum. Dark ruby, blackberry nose and wonderful fruit, coffee and a little bit of spice on the palette. As we savored the wine with our meals we all discussed picking up a few bottles for our home wine coolers. I've already checked it out and I found that one of my local stores carries it for under $30 a bottle - much better than most decent California Cabs.

So the next time you're at a restaurant and there's a Petite Syrah on the menu - take a chance. I think you're going to like what you find. Plus, it's wine. I's not like you're making an irrevocable decision.


Until the next sip, sniff or quaff (this Wednesday),


Alli M.


elliej said...

So long, pinot noir! Hello, syrah!

Jo Diaz said...

Syrah and Peloursin were crossed by Francois Durif in 1883. The end result was Petite Sirah. Just as you're different from your father (Syrah) and mother (Peloursin), Petite Sirah now has unique characteristics. It's tied back to Syrah in this way, but has a character all of its own. Came to the US in 1889ish by Charles McIver, who called it Petite Sirah. Durif called it "Durif," which the Australians still do today, but not in the US by 99 percent. Here it's PS. Jo Diaz, exec. director of PS I Love You (

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