Petite Sirah – A Test Drive


It all began in 1880 when Dr. François Durif, a grape botanist and grape breeder at the University of Montpellier in Southern France, released a new variety that he named after himself. It grew from a seed he extracted from fruit of the old French variety Peloursin. Dr. Durif didn’t know the pollen source at the time, but we now know that it was Syrah. The combination of Peloursin and Syrah resulted in fruit with saturated color and very dense fruit clusters.

Affectionately referred to as “Pet,” Petite Sirah became a mainstay in California around the 1900s, where plantings hit a zenith of 14,000 acres by the mid-1970s. As other varieties become more popular, Petite Sirah slipped into the role of a niche grape. Still popular to this day, it’s best known as a grape of intense color, flavor, and tannin.

Join the GrapeRadio bunch (Rusty, Eric, Brian, and Jay) as we comment while tasting through nine Petite Sirahs.

For more info:

Petite Sirah, I Love You:

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Show #402
(51:03 min 49 MB)










6 Responses to “Petite Sirah – A Test Drive”

  1. 1 R.W. Mar 21st, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    One of the best shows EVER! Thanks for doing a great show on one of my favorite but often ignored varietals….. I learned about some new wines on this show, my thanks to all of you!

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Bunch Mar 22nd, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks! We had a blast doing this show, and we hope to do many more of these wine “test drives.”

  3. 3 Jess Knauft Apr 28th, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Once again, I really enjoyed your show! It brought back some good memories.

    I recall talking to Joe Concannon in the late 1990’s and asking him about their sacramental wine, which I was attempting to order for the parish I’m involved in. At that time, their sacramental wine was being made out of the Mission grape. Joe told me they discontinued making sacramental wine, because the market for it had just tanked – i.e. it was just too darn expensive to produce. I was impressed because when Joe found out that I grew grapes and was an amateur wine maker, he offered tips on how I could make it myself.

    Having said that, on your show you mentioned that Concannon once made sacramental wine out of Petite Sirah during prohibition days. That was actually news to me! My guess is that it was made in those days from free run juice – but in a slightly sweet rose style. I say this because most of the early sacramental wines were made in that style. Except, of course, for Pinot Noir which got its start in popularity as sacramental wine. That’s because it was long considered the holy grail of wines. For example, already in 591, Gregory, bishop of Tours and author of the History of the Franks, thought it apt to compare burgundy wine to the Roman Grand Cru falernian.

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Apr 30th, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks Jess, for the interesting info! Speaking of Concannon, we have an interview with John Concannon coming up soon. Stay tuned!


  5. 5 Rusty Gaffney Apr 30th, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Jess – Pinot Noir is the voice of God.


  6. 6 Zane Jun 7th, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Good show!
    I’m a vintner of several varietals, but Petite Sirah is consistently the star in our line-up.
    I too am one of the few crazy enough to make Rose from PS. I’d like to make more, because it’s very popular, but it’s such a labor intensive process. We de-stem and pump the must directly into the press, and press it as soon as the press is loaded and ready. Mine spends a short time in French oak.

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