Petite Sirah: Our Specialty
Underdog California Varietal
Long in California history, but short on mainstream success, the Petite Sirah (PET) grape has been misunderstood and underappreciated, playing a hidden role in the blends of many popular wines, but, rarely a star on its own. Difficult to cultivate, and long overshadowed by trendier varietals, Petite Sirah was steadily replaced in vineyards, and acreage planted to the grape declined for decades, until 1995. Many “old-vine” Petite Sirah vineyards were sadly lost forever.
While many wines are made from more common varietals grown in several countries around the world, Petite Sirah remains virtually a unique CA grape varietal.
We fell in love with Petite Sirah because it has the flavor intensity, wide range of expression, age-worthiness, and old vine American history that immediately intrigued us.
Renaissance in Petite Sirah:
A “new” style of PET has emerged: Vineyard driven, food-friendly yet age-worthy, nuanced; and many are truly hand-crafted, focused and elegant. The winemaking challenge with Petite Sirah is the opposite of working with other varietals -- restraint, rather than full extraction. To excel, you need patience, time, and the intuition and experience to be at ease with not intervening. To let the life within chart their own course to enhance its Earthy and soulful qualities...
When we began in 2003, PET was far out of favor. However, in the past few years, an exciting winemaker driven Renaissance has begun and both the quantity and quality of well crafted Petite Sirah is at an all-time high.
Jordan MacKay, in Decanter’s 2004 California Supplement, writes:
Frank Prial, in a 2003 New York Times article about Petite Sirah, “A robust red goes straight to the point,” writes:
The International Wine Review, September 2005, puts PET's nobility in perspective:
James Laube, in Wine Spectator’s 2011, writes:
Robert Parker, April 2015, writes:
We are deeply grateful to the Concannon, Foppiano, Bogle, Ridge, Stags Leap and the other families who have championed PET over the years when it wasn't sexy or rewarding. It is because of you that we are here.
For more about the history and evolution of Petite Sirah, please see the wonderful advocacy organization, PS I Love You Web site for more information.