Classic low $30s Value Petite Sirah!


Can anyone tell me why California Petite Sirah doesn’t get more love from the cognoscenti? It certainly has some of the elements they love: It’s relatively obscure; it’s confusing; it pairs well with some hard-to-pair-with dishes. Is it the word “petite” that scares away macho wine dudes? Or is it the weird, Americanized spelling of Sirah, without the “y”?

Certainly the classic taste of tooth-staining, tannic Petite Sirah isn’t for everyone, but fans like me appreciate the deep, rich flavors and aromas of blueberry, spice, chocolate and sometimes even cedar or eucalyptus, markedly different from American Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mark Oldman, in his “Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine,” calls Petite Sirah “as dark and intense as a dominatrix’s boot.

What is Petite Sirah, anyway? Most of it is actually a grape called Durif, a cross between Syrah and Peloursin originating in late-19th-century France. Almost no Durif remains in France, but some it made its way to California, where it became a catch-all name for a number of grapes, some of which may have been Syrah. “They decided to give it a new name, including a French word for prestige, and something a bit easier to spell than Syrah,” wrote Roy Andries de Groot in his 1982 book “The Wines of California, The Pacific Northwest and New York.” These days, petite Syrah and Durif are synonymous, and California is its prime terroir.

Petite Sirah has always been used for blending. If a particular year’s zinfandel was a little flabby and in need of some tannic backbone or a darker purple hue, you can bet Petite Sirah was added.

I keep waiting for Petite Sirah to have its moment. In 2000, there were 60 producers of it. Today, there are more than 800. And more wineries are planting the grape: In 1992, 3,000 acres of Petite Sirah were grown in California; two decades later the total is nearly 8,500 acres. Many believe that the 2010, found on shelves now, might be the best petite vintage since it started being bottled as a single varietal in 1961. I figured it was a good time to do a tasting, so I gathered about 20 bottles, which wasn’t easy.

Here is an example of a fun, well-priced but sadly tiny production Petite Sirah – Trinafour

Trinafour is a very small producer specializing in Rhone Varietals. The latest Petite Sirah will knock your socks off!  Only 75 cases produced, so it will go fast! Sourced from the single vineyard “Niemi”

Trinafour 2018 Petite Sirah “Niemi”
GGWC 32.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code TRINAFOUR during checkout

The wine offers up gorgeous aromas of ripe blackberry, violet and crushed rocks.  The mouthfeel is lush, with bright and bold purple hued fruit flavors dominating the spectrum.  The wine offers up amazing richness, yet well-balanced and smooth on the mid-palate, with a long-lasting silky grained finish.  Only 5 barrels produced!

This wine pairs exceptionally well with smoked barbeque, cassoulet, dry rubbed ribs, andouille, Vella Dry Jack

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