Happy #Winesday! Today, we’re sipping on a little Petite Sirah. Don’t be fooled by its name —this varietal is anything but small. In fact, “petite” actually refers to the size of the grape, not the body or flavor of this red wine (which, in our humble opinion, is out of this world). While you would think this small grape wouldn’t be able to produce such a big wine, these tiny fruits pack a big punch. Since the grapes are so petite, it means that the ratio of grape skin to fleshy fruit is larger, which produces a more tannic wine.
You’ve probably heard of Petite Sirah’s cousin, Syrah, and are maybe wondering if Sirah is a typo. As you can guess, the Syrah and Petite Sirah grape are in fact related. The connection goes back to the days of Dr. François Durif in the 1860s. The doc was experimenting around with ways to make the Syrah grape more resistant to mildew, and lucky for us, Petite Sirah was born. A hybrid between the grapes Syrah and Peloursin (now nearly extinct, hence why you’ve probably never heard of it), Petite Sirah was first called the Durif grape, after the man himself. But, that name wasn’t super catchy, so it didn’t make its way with the grape when it traveled to California. You see, the French thought this little grape produced lack-luster wines, and weren’t committed to growing the Durif grape. But California wineries saw potential in the underdog and soon the grape made its way overseas. When American winemakers first started growing the varietal though, they ditched the Durif name and began calling it Petite Sirah. It just flows off the tongue better, right?
Like all good things, Petite Sirah takes time. Petite Sirah’s aging process can take up to 20, sometimes even 40 years! That’s a long time to wait for some vino, but in this instance, your patience really is worth it. Petite Sirah is a red that’s full of rich flavors that’ll have you reaching for the bottle to pour a second glass. When you’re finally able to pop open that cork, you’ll enjoy blueberry, pepper, and chocolatey undertones. And, Petite Sirah’s tannic qualities makes it the perfect pairing to rich, meaty dishes like roasted pork, juicy burgers, or authentic barbecue. Top that burger with some aged gouda, melted swiss or caramelized onions for an even better pairing that brings out the robust flavors of this combo. Veggie-wise, Petite Sirah compliments a roasted eggplant dish or a side of sautéed mushrooms. The Petite Sirah grape may be little, but its wine is pretty mighty. So grab a glass and enjoy the big flavors that come from such a tiny fruit! Cheers!
Sources:VinePair, Wine Folly & The Wine Cellar Insider