Best California Petite Sirahs – Petite Sirahs are wines that’s big, fruity, and inky colored, Petite Sirah should be on your radar.
To be honest, Petite Sirah is not one of the time-honored noble grape varieties and in fact, it’s rather young.
Best California Petite Sirahs – It was developed in 1880 by François Durif in his agricultural laboratory in Montpellier, France due to an accidental cross of Peloursin and Syrah.
Durif took credit for the resulting grape and arrogantly named it after himself.
It’s still called Durif in France and Australia, but when it arrived in California in 1878 it was confused with Syrah and was given the nickname “Petite Syrah” because of the grape’s low yields.
Best California Petite Sirahs – It was originally used to produce deeply colored juice to make fortified Port-style wines, but now it is used as a blending grape or in a single varietal still wine.
Grape growers have since changed the spelling from “Syrah” to “Sirah” and wine lovers should be happy to know that the most extensive plantings of Petite Sirah are in the U.S.A.
Best California Petite Sirahs – There’s even a group of winemakers in California named PS, I Love You (psiloveyou.org) that functions as a Petite Sirah advocacy organization.
With California in mind, here are seven California Petite Sirahs to drink now.
Best California Petite Sirahs – Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif 2020
Petite Sirah from Suisun Valley North Coast California
Only 30 minutes from Napa, Suisun Valley (which became an AVA in 1982) is still largely undiscovered.
With its warm days and cool nights, this pastoral region reminds us of Napa Valley in the 1960s.
Known for delicious stone fruits and walnuts, it is also gaining recognition for exceptional wine.
Durif is synonymous with Petite Sirah, the widely grown grape in the region – we added “Grand” to the name for its grand style.
With harmonious tannins, this wine is opulent, luxuriously soft and totally enjoyable.
Turley Hayne Vineyard Petite Syrah 2021
Petite Sirah from Napa Valley California
One of the finest wines we make, this organic, old-vine Petite Syrah has serious pedigree. Profound on the nose, with pungent plum, dark brambly fruits, India ink, and pan grillé, reminiscent of young Pauillac.
The palate has luscious blackberry, white pepper, and a hint of orange zest alongside a savory layer of herbs, gravel, and anise.
Decanting will coax further pleasure if you drink the wine now, or it can age indefinitely
Frank Family S&J Vineyard Petite Sirah Reserve 2019
Napa Valley California
With a deep and concentrated midnight purple hue, this wine greets the nose with aromas of blackberry pie, ripe plum, and chocolate with a touch of black licorice.
Flavors of black cherries, coffee, and spice continue through the long and smooth finish.
The nose is a seductive blend of blackberry, ripe plum, licorice, black tea, and cloves entice the palate.
The palate is graceful yet powerful, the wine has a voluptuous body, which is supported by its fresh acidity.
Rich flavors of black fruit, dark chocolate, and spice continue through the long finish.
The appearance is opaque in appearance with a deep, ruby red color.
Best California Petite Sirahs -Trentadue La Storia Petite Sirah 2020
Alexander Valley Sonoma County California
This complex wine has a beautiful, concentrated nose of blueberry and blackberries.
As it opens, it exposes aromas and flavors of cocoa and a slight earthiness, followed by brown sugar and a touch of vanilla.
Effusive blueberry and blackberry flavors seem almost sweet in this massively structured yet velvety-textured wine.
The jammy, juicy, intense fruit flavors are so rich, they tame the impressive fine-grained tannins so the wine comes off as balanced.
Maxville Petite Sirah 2016
Napa Valley California
Petite Sirah may be the hidden gem of our Chiles Valley estate vineyard.
Up until the 1960’s, Petite Sirah was one of the most widely planted grapes in Napa Valley.
Over time, this acreage has dwindled to select heritage vineyard locations where the grape produces deep and richly textured red wines that show the distinctive character and age-ability of this grape.
Their 2 blocks of Petite Sirah were planted in 2001 with this goal in mind.
The Chiles Valley estate vineyard is located east of the valley floor, nestled in the Vaca Mountains at an elevation of 900 to 1,200 feet.
Due to this higher elevation, daytime and nighttime temperatures are cooler, producing Petite Sirah that retains refreshing acidity alongside the signature tannins of this varietal.
Separation of free run juice from press fractions before barrel aging was critical to ensure the finished wine exhibits plush, ripe tannins alongside its deep, dark berry fruit.
Best California Petite Sirahs -Adaptation Petite Sirah 2018
Napa Valley California
This expressive and full bodied Petite Sirah exhibits a deep purple hue, revealing an assortment of wild berries, violets, licorice, pencil lead shavings, roasted coffee beans and fresh tobacco.
The texture is gorgeous with richness and layers that give way to the long vibrant finish.
Stags’ Leap Ne Cede Malis Petite Sirah 2019
Stags Leap District Napa Valley California
Offering a distinctive wine each vintage, the 2016 Ne Cede Malis is elegant and rich with tremendous concentration and depth.
The wine reveals layers of dark blackberry, blueberry and raspberry yogurt, interwoven with savory notes of delicate dried chaparral herbs like mint, lavender and sage, alongside an exotic black pepper spice.
This single block blend is the simple, pure expression of this extraordinary vineyard, exhibiting a multilayered rich velvety texture highlighting the age and character of the oldest vines on our estate.
Extraordinary lengthy finish with plushness and opulence. Inviting in its youth but also meant for age-worthiness, decanting is suggested to allow the flavors to evolve and reveal their complexity and elegance.
Syrah, Petite Sirah, Shiraz
Syrah, Petite Sirah, Shiraz, are they all the the same?
While all of these grapes produce big, bold, spicy red wines, one of these things (varietals) is not like the others.
In short, Syrah and Shiraz refer to the same type of dark-skinned grape grown in two different regions, while Petite Sirah is a related but different grape.
Syrah and Shiraz wines tend to be very full bodied, bold wines with notes of pepper and dark fruit flavors like blackberries.
Generally, European wines are labeled Syrah while Australian wines are labeled Shiraz.
Petite Sirah is an entirely different grape varietal than Syrah (otherwise known as Shiraz) and produces a deep-colored, robust, full-bodied peppery wine with lots of tannins and tends to age well.
Petite Sirah never really took off in France, where it was first grown, as it isn’t well-suited to the growing climate, but it became popular in California (particularly Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino), where it thrived for some time.
It’s not as popular today as it once was in its heyday in the 70’s.
People seem to either really love or hate Petite Sirah because of its spicy and peppery intensity, compared to Syrah’s smoother, more refined qualities which make it more of a general crowd-pleaser.