Home > Grapes, Petite Sirah, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #81: Grape Trivia – Petite Sirah

Weekly Wine Quiz #81: Grape Trivia – Petite Sirah

November 9, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
Petite Sirah in Bloom. Source: Wikipedia

Petite Sirah in Bloom. Source: Wikipedia

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

We are continuing our grape trivia series, with the focus again on the red grapes, and today’s subject is Petite Sirah.

Petite Sirah was created by the French botanist François Durif as a result of accidental cross-pollination between Syrah and little known Rhône varietal called Peloursin. To honor its creator, the grape was originally known under the name of Durif, but Petite Sirah happened to stick as a name, so it is a rarity to the see the name Durif on the bottle. While discovered in France, the grape is literally non-existent there, and it is growing primarily in United States, Australia and Israel, with the number of other countries starting to experiment with it.

Petite Sirah came to the United States at the end of the 19th century, but it is only recent that its popularity started to increase rapidly. Just to give you some numbers, in 2002 in California there were about 2,000 acres of Petite Sirah planted, and 62 producers made wine from it. In 2013, the plantings increased more than 4 times, to more than 9,000 acres, and about 1,000 producers joined the suite, bringing the total number of Petite Sirah producers in California to more than 1,060. At the same time, most of the Petite Sirah production is small, typically a few hundred cases, which explains why you see only a very limited number of Petite Sirah wines in the stores.

Petite Sirah (and the name Petite here relates to the size of the grapes) produces small dark-skinned berries, with very high skin to juice ratio, thus bringing a lot of tannins to the resulting wines. But it is not only tannins – Petite Sirah often shows quite an exuberant fruit, with blueberries and raspberries being in the forefront. One important feature of the Petite Sirah grapes is resistance to the mildew, which definitely helps, especially when it rains during the harvest. Petite Sirah is used both for blending and, increasingly, on its own, where it makes very concentrated, powerful and long-living wines, capable of ageing for a few decades or more.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Name the grape: In California, Petite Sirah is a popular blending addition to ___?

Q2: When it comes to the wines in the United States, there is an interesting similarity between the Petite Sirah and Primitivo. Can you explain?

Q3: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Arizona

b. Illinois

c. New Mexico

d. New York

e. Texas

Q4: In the bad, rainy growing season conditions in California, Petite Sirah can be a savior – can you explain why and how does it help?

Q5: What love has to do with the Petite Sirah?

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

  1. November 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Love this grape but know little about it. So great quiz.
    1 – I’d think that it needs softening out. So, Merlot?
    2 – perhaps they go by different names on different continents. Durif in Australia and Zinfandel in North America. Also primitivo and PS are great grilling matches
    3 – New York
    4 – hardy and resistant to rot, mold
    5 – Tina Turner’s favourite grape

    • talkavino
      November 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Bill, thanks for playing! This is definitely a great take on the questions! My answers will be coming on Wednesday

  2. PSsquared
    November 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Trader Joe’s had a Petite Sirah under their own label a couple of years ago. We really liked it. And now I’m going to try again, until I get too intimidated by what the Google machine tells me… 🙂
    1. Zinfandel
    2. They are both delicious
    3 Arizona, because I’m in it and don’t feel like I belong in this quiz. Kidding! (not really 🙂
    4. Because it can be blended with the other grapes to make up for the damage done by the rain.
    5. The group “PS I Love You” who work to promote the grape.

    • talkavino
      November 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Patty, you are on the roll! Excellent work! My answers are coming on Wednesday

  3. November 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    1. Zinfandel
    2. In 2010, it was proposed that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recognize Petite Syrah and Turif as synonyms in the US, but it failed because in the same proposal, Primitivo and Zinfandel were also proposed to be listed as synonyms. Opponents of this latter change apparently got the whole proposal killed.
    3. New York–PS not grown to any significant degree in the state.
    4. It can be blended with other varieties (such as Cabernet Sauv) in weaker years to provide needed color and tannin.
    5. PS I Love You is a group dedicated to the grape.

    • talkavino
      November 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Jeff, excellent work as usual. My answers are coming on Wednesday.

  4. November 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I love the quizzes, it’s wonderful to learn, I knew nothing about petite sirah, now I do. Thank you!

    • talkavino
      November 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      My pleasure! Glad you find it useful!

  5. November 13, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I’m waiiting for the answers 🙂 thanks for keeping my brain active.

    • talkavino
      November 13, 2013 at 7:08 am

      coming out shortly!

  1. November 13, 2013 at 10:11 am
  2. November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am
  3. June 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

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