What to Drink – Que Sirah, Syrah

Whether it’s Sirah or Syrah, they’re pronounced the same.

These are two grape varieties, are not, however, related even though they taste very similarly. The spelling is one of the small differences between these two grapes.

Petite Sirah is unique to California, the land of Pink Chablis and a jug of burgundy. Petite Sirah got its name because it looked the same a Syrah only smaller, more petite. so they called it Petite Sirah.

The flavor of Petite Sirah is rich, spicy, and full-bodied. All those aromas, flavors and colors are in its skin. And because this grape is so petite, its skin to pulp ratio is high, therefore, more aromas, flavors and color than say, a Cabernet grape.

And that thick skin of the Petite Syrah delivers the classic teeth staining Petite Sirah with rich aromas of blueberry, spice, chocolate and flavors of blueberry and black pepper.  Yum!

Try these longtime producers:

  • Michael David’s Earthquake Petite Sirah which is intense from an old Lodi vineyard planted around the same time of San Francisco’s great Earthquake of 1906. With over 15% alcohol and that tooth staining color, this wine is that purple. Around $20.
  • Bogle Winery California Petite Sirah is sourced from vineyards around Clarksburg and Lodi, and aged in American oak for 12 months. This wine is so impressive with its inky, dark and glass staining features. There are blackberries and blueberries and a concentrated, rich note of toasty oak with hints of mocha. All for $10.
  • EOS Paso Robles Petite Syrah is inky purple in color with the blueberry and black pepper nose and flavors. Very full bodied with more intense fruit, followed by toasted oak and mocha. Mostly Petite Sirah, 84% so it’s legal to put it on the label, blended with a dash of Tempranillo, Grenache, and Syrah. $20 although the 2010 is selling for $6 at Grocery Outlet. Bargain alert, bargain alert…

Cheers!