While the history of how Petite Sirah came to be known as Petite Sirah is completely confusing, we do know that it is a varietal that originated in the 1880s and was soon after introduced to California. The other name for this grape is Durif, whose namesake is Dr. Francois Durif, the French guy who first cultivated the grape by combining Syrah with an old French variety known as Peloursin. The result was a grape that produced a wine almost as complex as its confusing history.
The one word that encompasses all the characteristics of this wine would be "substantial." It's not something you'd want to drink every night this summer, but something you'd savor for a time when you're really ready to hunker down and make yourself feel like a true oenophile. Perhaps you could break out a cigar, put on your smoking jacket and open a hard-bound copy of something by Shakespeare or a book of Walt Whitman's poetry.
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You must swirl this wine. Even though it's less than $15 a bottle, it begs to be coddled and fawned over. The nose is full of plums, licorice and spice with lovely burgundy legs that slink slowly down the glass. It begins with a faint, but spicy note with rich oak taking over. With a slight earthiness of tobacco, it finishes with an almost caramel-like flavor of dried plums (a.k.a., prunes - but that didn't sound quite as romantic) and raisins. The mouthfeel is so thick you could cut it with a knife. It's got many layers that slowly unfold and deserves to be sipped with something cliché, like a filet mignon topped with blue cheese. It's a perfect wine for those looking to feel like someone from Dallas - a $30,000 millionaire.