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11 July 2005

P is for Petite Sirah

Monday.  Brought to you by the letter, "P" - as in Petite Sirah

Petsirah_1This grape is neither petite nor Syrah.  Many think it’s actually the blasé French grape called Durif.  Actually, most Petite Sirah from California is likely a mix of one or more of the following grapes:  Alicante Bouschet, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre, Peloursin, or Zinfandel.  Whatever it is, David Bruce makes a Jim-Dandy P.Sir.  Enjoy an inky, deep, plumy glass of David Bruce Petite Sirah, ’03 ($20).


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I tasted a very decent Petite Sirah recently, and then consulted "Grapes and Wine" by Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand. They say that petite sirah is a peloursin / syrah cross. Then they say that in California it's just as likely to be syrah, or durif, or peloursin, or a field mix of all three. Ha! Then they say that Durif is a (different) peloursin / syrah cross! And just to round it off, they warn against confusing any of this with petite syrah (NB 'y' not 'i'), which is a name used in the Northern Rhône for a strain of syrah with small berries.

Ampelography - don't you just love it?


Jancis & Hugh J. also seem to be equally confused on the subject. As do many of the Californian Petite Sirah enthusiasts...

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