Aside from 1961 being the year of my birth, it is also the first vintage of the labeling of Petite Sirah in California by Jim Concannon. And this week, we congratulate him and celebrate this 50th anniversary!
The Petite Sirah grape variety was cultivated in 1880 in France by Dr Durif, when he took a seed of the French grape Peloursin and the pollen from the Syrah grape. He named this offspring ‘the Durif’, after himself. But soon growers were calling it Petite Sirah, mainly because of the grapes DNA and the smaller grapes the vines produce (plus, it sounds nicer!)
Please make no mistake, there is nothing ‘petite’ about this wine. At a recent dinner party, one of my guests pulled a bottle of Pacific Coast Vineyards Petite Sirah off the wine bar and said ‘is this a girly wine?’
I suppose the title threw him off a bit, but once he took a taste he understood that it is a bold, dry wine. Pour a glass and you’ll appreciate the deep purple color this wine possesses. This is the ‘purple tooth’ wine.
So, here is your assignment. Go out and get a bottle of California Petite Sirah. If you can’t get a boutique wine from Turley or Pacific Coast Vineyards, try a Bogle, Foppiano, Concannon or Crusher. Hoist your glass, and offer up a happy birthday toast to this very special California wine. I’ll be offering a toast to my friends (and me) for turning the big 50 this year!