Petite Sirah is a red wine grape that, in France, Australia, and Israel is synonymously known as Durif. The United States ATF recognizes “Durif” and “Petite Sirah” as the same grape. It produces tannic wines with a spicy, plummy flavor. Originating from Montpellier, France, the size of the grapeberries bequeaths its diminutive, “petite”, while the vine itself is a particularly vigorous plant. A dark, inky-colored wine, Petite Sirah typically yields a bouquet of blue-fruit flavors, like blueberries and sugar plums, while producing a firm texture within the mouth. Many sommeliers describe Petite Sirah as having a bright, full, or roundness sensation on the pallet, though the flavor does not linger. In new oak barrels, the wine can develop an aroma of melted chocolate. It’s an elegant red wine with only medium acidity.
A Spanish native, Tempranillo is a black grape varietal that produces a full-bodied red wine. The noir color of the think berry skin beholds this species quite well as its “temprano” ripening reflects the need for a relatively early harvest. Notwithstanding the Tempranillo’s cultivation by Phoenicians two millennia ago, the grape did not arrive in California until 1905. The ruby red color of a Tempranillo compliments its sophisticated aroma and flavor profile of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather, and herb. Its intense coloring compliments its low acidity and low sugar content which appeals to red wine drinkers ubiquitously.
The most widely planted of all new world grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is recognized worldwide, especially in Northern California. Despite its prominence, the grape itself is a relatively new cultivar. Hardy, but low yielding, the late-budding species makes a terrific red wine, whose structure and flavors produce a full-bodied consistency year-after-year and whose popularity bears testimony to its high tannin and high acidity concentrations. Natural chemical compounds called pyrazines give Cabernet wine its characteristic “green bell pepper” flavor, which blends nicely with the fruit’s blackcurrant aroma. In dryer climates, the pyrazine concentrations are lower, tending toward a more eucalyptus or minty flavor profile.