As I continue the series about varietals we grow, the focus is on Petite Sirah. This winegrape is an important part of Dry Creek Valley’s grapegrowing history although it has been in the shadow of Zinfandel all along, being a supporting player when blended. Adding deeper tannin, color and structure to our Zins, it is a delicious wine on its own. It has also been growing on my cousin’s vineyard (Bushnell) and we make a Family Vineyards blend of the two. Let’s step back and take a look at the grape itself. There is a bit of a mystery why it is called Petite Sirah but I can tell you it is the love child of Sirah and Peloursin and known in France as Durif. While the name and pedigree can be confusing, thank heavens they didn’t try to name it Peloursin Sirah. Looking at the grape acreage planted in California there is a sum total of 9576 acres and I was surprised at the amount planted in Sonoma County-I thought we would have led in number of acres but at 650 we are in the middle of the pack. Between our vineyard and the Bushnell vineyard we have 7 acres and this provides blending opportunities as well as a stand-alone offering. There are a couple of distinctive qualities about this grape as it has small berries and tightly packed bunches. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah has a small amount of juice to skin ratio and the deep purple bunches produce what I call a ‘bruiser’ of a wine-deep and inky with chalky tannins. In fact it is the wine of choice to age-and some experts say it ages better and longer in the cellar than Cabernet Sauvignon! For more about this intriguing grape you should visit PS I Love You-a winery and grower organization support group. To add one more antidote: PSILY once held a Blue Tooth Tour-proof this wine stains more than your glass. A toast to blending in and standing out, only Petite Sirah can do it.
Our Petite Sirah vineyard is located on our home ranch, where it has thrived since the earlier 1900s.