Your Wine IQ

Petite Sirah


International Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon   Merlot   Pinot Noir   Syrah

Major Varieties: Cabernet Franc    Grenache    Malbec    Nebbiolo    Sangiovese    Tempranillo    Zinfandel

Regional Varieties:   Baga    Barbera    Blaufränkisch    Brachetto    Carignan    Carménère    Cinsaut    Dolcetto    Gamay    Graciano    Lagrein    Malvasia Nera    Marzemino    Montepulciano    Mourvèdre    Nero d'Avola    Petit Verdot    Petite Sirah    Pinot Meunier    Pinotage    Touriga Nacional


Petite Sirah is actually only called Petite Sirah in the US and Israel. Elsewhere, it is referred to as Durif. Related to Syrah, it shares the same spiciness, but has much more tannin and bitterness in most of its examples. California and Australia are the leading producers of Petite Sirah, although the grape originated in France. Petite Sirah has fallen out of favor in France, where the climate is not optimal for growth.

The Australians, however, use this table grape to make wine that can often be excellent. Australian Petite Sirah is inky and firm, but must be cellared for decades to bring out the best flavors. The grape is also made into tawny port in Australia.

In California, Petite Sirah is planted all over, often used for 100% varietal but also blended with Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Some "boutique" Petite Syrahs are quite distinct. Blends with Zinfandel have been successful.