Petite Sirah; Why You Can’t Keep a Spirited Grape Down

Foppiano Estate Petite Sirah

Foppiano Estate Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah is one of two vitis vinifera grapes that is considered America’s grape, the other being Zinfandel. Originally from the south of France, Petite Sirah is genetically related to the grape Durif which is a cross between Peloursin and Syrah. It is a delicate grape that produces a powerful wine. Susceptible to rot, it has not done well in its home of southern France, but when planted in a drier climate it produces a dark, tannic, powerful wine. While it has withered in Europe, Petite Sirah has persisted and thrived here in America.

Foppiano Vineyards is in Healdsburg California in Sonoma County. The property feels more like a grape farm than a vineyard. The home on the property is modest as is the tasting room. It is homey rather than pretentious. Foppiano’s is clearly and proudly a working farm. Along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Foppiano also makes wine from America’s grapes. Their real show stopper is the Petite Sirah. Lot 96 has almond and vanilla wafting along with the red fruit and a clean finish. The Estate PS is dark fruit, chewy tannins, and chocolate. It is heavy and meaty. Though finicky in humid climates, here in Sonoma Petite Sirah has proven to be a spirited grape that makes big-flavored wine.

Foppiano Tasting Room

Foppiano Tasting Room

My Mother was laughing when I spoke to her on the phone. It was good to hear her laugh after the stress that she’d been through. “They put him in a straight jacket!” She was talking about my Dad. He was recovering from bypass surgery, still hooked up to wires and tubes. He was supposed to be resting and deep breathing, but instead he decided he wanted to get up. Of course, they had told him not to, not without help, and not until he was unplugged. But they weren’t in the room, so, I guess he thought it would be okay. In his noble attempt, he got tangled in his tubes and wires and had to press for the nurse. She got him back into bed, and, realizing this one was going to be trouble, she put him in a garment that keeps him a little less mobile.

There was some pride in my Mother’s laughter. My Dad is very spirited. It is his indomitable spirit that got him through the bypass surgery. His spirit makes him a great patient for difficult surgeries, but a terrible patient for the nurses.

14 comments on “Petite Sirah; Why You Can’t Keep a Spirited Grape Down

  1. It’s good news that he felt like getting up!

    Did the straight jacket tame him? Is he behaving himself according to the nurses’ code now?

    Question: How does petite syrah differ from syrah/shiraz?

    • foxress says:

      Yes! He came home yesterday. My Mom wants one of those straight jackets for him. He’s gong to be a handful.

      So, petite sirah is genetically related to durif which is a cross between Syrah and pelorusin. Syrah produces a more complex and interesting wine. It is a noble grape after all. It’s aromas are dark fruit, sometimes purple flowers and smoke. Petite Sirah can be as tannic as Syrah, but not as elegant.

      • Ah — Ken knows a lot more about wine than I do. Now I know why I’ve never had a petite in his presence (and he’s the one I generally drink wine with).

        As you’re surely discovering, he’s a go-for-the-gusto kind of guy.

        I think I told you he had a 6way… It was not his first hospital stay (it was more like his 9th or something ridiculous like that….) and while he can be a handful, he has found the huge advantage of winning the nurses over to his side (special meals, extra popsicles, 1st one to get his bell answered when he calls). In the hospital is the one place in life where acts like a total suck-up.

        Being a handful–wanting to get back to walking and activity, is a positive thing after heart surgery. Ken was walking a mile 4 days after surgery, 2 miles less than 2 weeks— and he’s been in tip-top shape ever since. It’s a scary, but amazing surgery.

      • foxress says:

        Tracy, it really is amazing surgery. Your Ken must be pretty amazing to have walked a mile 4 days after surgery! Thanks for sharing that story. It’s inspiring.

  2. Good to hear your dad is doing ok. I love the connection you make, if ever so slightly, between Petite Syrah and him…:)

  3. I had to read twice to get the connection – but I’m glad your dad is on the mend!

  4. Agree with Oliver/Winegetter about the connections you make in your writings. They are always a pleasure to experience.
    Petite Sirah would easily make my top 10 varietal list. Decanting it truly helps in bringing out its characteristics. Last year I discovered a couple of Petite Sirah/Durif – Shiraz blends, what a combination. I think it was my “house” red for…… well at least until I discovered my next “house” red πŸ™‚
    GO DAD!

    • foxress says:

      Thank you! I really appreciate the compliment and good wishes. What are your go to red blends? I always enjoy your recommendations.

      • This week my “go to” red blend is Tobin James Chateau Le Cacheflo from Paso Robles. Incredible for under $20 and sometimes even under $15. I was introduced to his cab last year and it left a mark. When I discovered the blend on the shelf recently I just knew I had to try it. Delicious. You may be seeing a post soon about it πŸ™‚
        Thanks for asking!

  5. Healing thoughts for your dad. I love your parents’ positive spirits!!

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