It is difficult to keep track of all the varieties of wine in the world, much less to know the difference between them all. Some are common and easy to pronounce. Some are in obscure and foreign languages. Many of them have names that sound similar. Look at Syrah and Petite Sirah. Is Petite Sirah a smaller bottle of Syrah? What is the difference between Syrah and Petite Sirah?
Syrah, also called Shiraz, is a completely different grape variety than Petite Sirah. Petite Sirah, another name for the Durif grape, is actually much darker and more tannic than Syrah. Nicknamed "petite" because of its small grapes, it is a descendant of the Syrah and Peloursin grapes.
Maybe red wine is best outdoors...
Maybe red wine is best outdoors...
Before we explain how Syrah and Petite Sirah are different, let's talk a little about how you can tell the difference between all the varieties and what the wines are called.
How do people choose wine?
There is no doubt that browsing through some wine lists or labels can be very confusing. How do you figure out what to drink?
Most people choose wine by color (red, white, rosé) and then by grape variety. Some stop there, others can take a closer look at which country, region or climate a given bottle of wine comes from.
This helps spread the wines into buckets, giving you a general idea of how to select wines with your preferred characteristics.
Let's say you want tomedium-bodied red winewhich has fresh red fruit and an earthy taste. You can choosePinot Noir fra Oregonu.
Author's Note:Oregon is a cool climate region known for producing Pinot Noir with fresher fruit, while California Pinot Noir in a warmer climate is often full of fruit jam.
All over the world you will find that the differences inLAND, especially the climate and soil type, affect the appearance, smell and taste of the wine.
The cooler region typically offers characteristics that are crisp, earthy and softer. Warmer climates produce wines that are a little bolder and often have roasted fruit aromas.
If you understand which aroma and flavor you prefer, simply choose wines made from grapes that have a similar profile.
Once you've mastered this, you can further refine your selection by keeping in mind how climate affects a wine's profile. Thanks to this, you have a guide and you don't have to learn by heartevery wine label you come across.
Where do wines get their names from?
Many wines are named after the grapes from which they are made. Wine labels indicate the name of the vineyard and the grapes used.
All the wines we drink today come fromVineMediterranean grapes. Throughout history, this wine has been cultivated and spread throughout the world. The different grapes we identify today are different species of the genus Vitis vinifera.
If you read a wine label, you will probably recognize many Vitis vinifera grape varieties, such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. They classify the wine in the bottle from which the grapes were used to make it.
What does it mean if the name of the grape is not visible on the bottle? Old-fashioned wines, mostly European, often define a wine by the region where it is grown. Dedicated rules for how the wine is made and acceptable grapes tell you what you'll find in the bottle.
For example, if you see ChablisAppellation d'origine contrôléeon on a white wine label, you know it's Chardonnay. To be able to put this on the label, the wine must be made from 100% Chardonnay.
Many grapes have different names in different regions of the world. Despite the differences in names, the grapes share the same color, size, growth tendencies and general characteristics.
Over time, some vines were created by crossing two existing vines. It's a complicated and lengthy process, so it doesn't happen on a regular basis.
Take a look at Syrah vs Petite Sirah - where do they come from and how are they different?
Contestant #1: Syrah
Like many other grapes, Syrah's origins lie in France. Grapes called Dureza and Modeuse Balance were crossed to create Syrah. The Rhône Valley in France is historically the most famous wine producing region of Syrah.
Syrah is a very popular grape variety. It is widely produced around the world, with France and Australia leading the way.
Top tip:Syrah grapes are dark and quite small, giving a boldly concentrated flavor. As a full-bodied red wine, it is characterized by moderately high acidity and tannins. You will find that it has a deep purple hue that leads to a mouth full of dark fruit and a tannic texture.
While Syrah can be a bold wine, it does not reach the maximum levels of body, alcohol and tannins that wines can have. Typical aromas and flavors are green peppercorns, sage, allspice, leather and plum.
In the 19th century, Syrah was exported from France. The grape has been successful in California and Australia. The Australians renamed the grapes Shiraz.
If you see a bottle of Australian Shiraz next to French Syrah, know that it is the same grape. The differences in taste are due to climate and soil.
Old World Syrah, which comes from places like France with a cool climate, will have a higher acidity and will lean heavily on earthy or herbal aromas. New World, such as Australian Shiraz with a warmer climate, will have more fruit and peppery spices.
Australia produces some of the highest rated Shiraz wines in the Barossa Valley, south of Adelaide. The region has escaped the vine disease that has swept across Europe and therefore has some of the oldest vines in the world. They can add flavors of eucalyptus and spicy black pepper.
Syrah is often combinedwith bright Grenache grapes and rich Mourvedre grapes to create a common GSM blend. This traditional blend is found inRhône coast, France. Australian winemakers sometimes produce this GSM blend under the name Shiraz.
With bold fruit and spice flavors, Syrah is sure to be a hit on your table. Decant Syrah/Shiraz for about an hour and serve at classic room temperatureRed wineglass. You can also enjoy Shirazdesserts such as cookies.
Contestant #2: Petite Sirah
Because of the name, you might think soPetite Sirahis a lighter version of Syrah. it is not. They are completely different grape varieties.
The result of crossing Syrah and Peloursin grapes was Petite Sirah. This grape is also called Durif, in honor of the man who discovered it.
The grapes are very small, hence the name "petite", and appear almost black. Petite Sirah's dark colour, concentrated juice and a lot of contact with the skin during fermentation give the wine its intensity.
Petite Sirah is rare compared to Syrah. Worldwide, Syrah grows about 46 times as many hectares.
Historia Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah was discovered in France but is now produced mainly as a single varietal wine in California. Key regions in California that produce Petite Sirah include the Central Valley, North Coast, North Valley, Central Coast and Sierra Foothills. It grows best in hot, dry climates and is often very high in alcohol.
Petite Sirah is Syrah's stronger, bolder cousin. It is often paired with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel for extra body in a blended wine.
This full-bodied red wine displays bold fruit, plenty of tannins and a high alcohol content. Petite Sirah's inky color will include flavors such as black cherry, marmalade berry, herbaceous black pepper, dried rosemary and spices of oak-like tobacco, hazelnut and dark chocolate. These flavors doit goes perfectly with cheesebut alsoMexican dishes like mole.
Due to such a strong tannin, Petite Sirah requires a long aging in oak to achieve a smoother texture. The high tannin content also means you will be drinking a much higher amount of antioxidants than you would with a light red wine. Choose Petite Sirah for better health benefits!
Author's Note:It is best to decant Petite Sirah for a few hours and serve it slightly cooler (about 65 degrees Fahrenheit) than room temperature. This will calm the sharp tannins and bring out more floral and mineral qualities.
Petite Sirah is generally cheaper than other full-bodied onesred winesgives good value for a strong taste. Add it to a hearty meal for greater impact. It's sure to impress even your winemaking friends.
Syrah vs. Petite Sirah: the end of the duel
The next time you wonder what the difference is between seemingly identical bottles on the shelf, remember that it's the opposite of what their names suggest. While Syrah is a full-bodied red wine, Petite Sirah is even more powerful.
As two completely different grape varieties, they will neither look, smell nor taste the same. Syrah is strongRed winewhich is undoubtedly smoother and more refined than the competition. Petite Sirah is rustic and bold as can be.
Value-driven Petite Sirah will be harder to find, but worth the effort. Its parent, Syrah, is a classic grape that is sure to please the crowds. Both wines deserve time on your table.
When choosing a bottle, keep in mind how its properties will vary depending on the climate and region it comes from. In warmer climates, there will be more baked fruit and spices. Colder climates will have slightly more refined earthy or herbal elements.
This familyThe wines go well with hearty, spicy meals. Try it with grill, roast or dates wrapped in bacon. Vegetables such as eggplant, mushrooms and caramelized onions will complement their earthy aroma. Most meals with strong spices, sauces and spicy elements will go well.
Why not try them together? Playing with wine is about learning by trying the many ways wine affects the senses. Grab a bottle of each and make your own observations about Syrah vs Petite Sirah.
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