Petite Sirah featured in Food & Wine Magazine

Food and Wine Magazine

August 2022

An August 11, 2022 article in Food & Wine Magazine by Brian Freedman outlines “Everything You Need to Know About Petite Sirah.” From its standalone beauty to its depth when added to a blend, petite sirah has many roles in the world of food and wine. Here are a few key themes from the article:

1. What are the characteristics of Petite Sirah?

“Petite Sirah should be more popular than it is. After all, it checks so many of the boxes that American consumers often look for in a red wine: It tends to display ripe, rich fruit, leans toward the more powerful end of the spectrum, and its spice notes allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. Petite Sirah also plays well in the proverbial sandbox with other grape varieties, often lending blends greater depth of color and an undertow of richness. Despite the fact that even the best examples rarely cost a fortune, it flies relatively under the radar –– but this grape variety has the potential to offer profound, joyous pleasure.”

2. What is the origin of the Petite Sirah grape?

“Petite Sirah is a red wine produced from the grape of the same name. Interestingly, it’s not the same grape variety as Syrah, with which it’s often conflated. Petite Sirah is actually the same as the Durif grape variety of France, which is the result of a crossing between Syrah and a local grape variety called Peloursin. In practical terms, this effectively means that Syrah and Peloursin are the “parent” varieties of Petite Sirah.”

Whitton Ranch as a Ridge Vineyards Zoom Background.

3. What does Petite Sirah contribute to a blend?

“Petite Sirah offers dramatic aromas and flavors that makes wines produced from it just as enjoyable when sipped on their own as with food. In the summer, Petite Sirah and blends that incorporate it tend to pair well with barbecue, and in winter, the richness and depth of flavor in those bottles make them comforting and warming on a cold, dark night.”

“Petite Sirah can work wonders in a blend. Many producers use it, even in unnamed capacities, to lend darker color and greater richness to wines that are labeled as being produced from other grape varieties. Remember, in the United States, a wine only has to be made from 75% of a single grape variety to be called that grape on the label. For example, a bottle that’s labeled as Zinfandel can have up to 25% of other grape varieties in there –– Petite Sirah is not uncommon in that role.”

4. How does Ridge demonstrate Petite Sirah in wine?

Ridge 2020 Geyserville
Brian Freedman reviews the 2020 Geyserville as part of his article.

“Ridge has been a key player in the evolution and success of California’s wine industry for a long time –– 2022 is actually their 60th anniversary. From the iconic Monte Bello to their terrific Lytton Estate Petite Sirah and even a standout Grenache Blanc, they seemingly do it all. The 2020 Geyserville brings together 69% Zinfandel, 20% Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouchet, and 1% Mataro, and is everything you’d want a blend like this to be: Generous and ripe yet with excellent structure and length, and shimmering with blackberries, mouthwatering cranberries, ancho-spiced dark chocolate, and a long, mineral- and baking spice-flecked finish.”


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