Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah and Syrah have been the source of much confusion among wine lovers for many years; Petite Sirah and Syrah, however, are two completely different grapes. Both grapes make big, rich red wines, and both are considered Rhone varietals. Further adding to the confusion is the fact that many producers label their Petite Sirah as "Petite Syrah" and Australian Syrah is called "Shiraz." 

Petite Sirah grapes produce big, assertive red wines with powerful tannins and dark, almost black, color. The flavors of pepper, nutmeg and clove spice dominate the fruit flavors of rich berry and boysenberry jam. Petite Sirah, also known as Durif, has long been an important blending grape, prized primarily for its deep color and fairly intense tannin. It is the varietal most often chosen to blend into Zinfandel for added complexity, structure and to tone down the tendency of Zins toward "jammy" fruit. As a base wine or stand-alone varietal, vintners often introduce a small portion of white wine into Petite Sirah to calm the intensity with little effect on color. 

Petite Sirah pairs well with meats that are roasted or smoked and dishes with hearty, slightly acidic sauces, including beef, lamb, game, chicken and turkey; grilled, roasted or smoked veal or pork and with barbecue, chili, cold cuts, hamburgers, roast duck, pot roast, cassoulet, sweetbreads with mushrooms, meatloaf, Mexican food, sausages, risotto and cheese-based pastas. 

Cheeses that pair well with Petite Sirah include mild, medium or smoked Cheddar, Edam, smoked Gouda, Manchego, Muenster, Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged Provolone, Roncal and such sheep-milk cheeses as Pecorino Romano and Toscano.