Not So Small There is nothing petite about this grape. Petite Sirah, the result of a crossing between Syrah and Peloursin, is also known as Durif. Being the father, Syrah imparted some of its flavors and characteristics to its offspring, but the two grapes are decisively different. Petite Sirah is mostly found in California, where it gained popularity as a blending partner, but has come into its own as a single varietal wine.
Notable Facts A common descriptor for Petite Sirah is inky. And so it is - the dark skinned grape creates wines that are tannic, sturdy, jammy and of course, stain-your-teeth purple. As a blender, the grape helps to add structure and backbone to wines made in not-so-perfect vintages. As a sole variety, the wine typically shows off a peppery spice, with concentrated fruit flavors reminiscent of plums and prunes with notes of cherries and blackberries. The variety continues to gain respect in California for single varietal production and making some delicious and intense wines.
Summing it up Successful Sites: California, South Africa
Common Descriptors: Inky, peppery, prunes, black fruit, leather
Learn More About Sierra Foothills, California
Called gold country since the mid-1800's, the Sierra Foothills, located between Sacramento and the Nevada border, was a hot spot for those seeking a gold rush fortune. Some of these settlers brought some European vines with them and somewhere in that mix was the Zinfandel grape.
Zinfandel remains the grape of choice here, followed by Rhone Blends. Volcanic rock & granite-based soils give their wines a robustness that make them unique, and highly sought after, particularly from the two best-known counties, Amador and El Dorado. Zinfandels here are spicy and structures, with brambly fruit and excellent backbone. Once a well-kept secret, wine from the Sierra Foothills is now on the national wine map.