As the family’s favorite wine, Petite Sirah has also become Foppiano’s flagship offering, known nationwide as one of the country’s top Petite Sirahs each vintage. Over the years, our Petite Sirah has gained praise from the wine press and from consumers for its high quality.
For many years, the Petite Sirah grape was used for blending with California’s “Burgundy style” wines. It was meant to add color, structure and body to the wine. As Foppiano used to make “Burgundies” during the first half of the 1900’s, it seemed only natural for us to begin making a single-varietal Petite Sirah wine, which we started doing in the mid 1960’s.
Petite Sirah, a French wine love child from royal pedigree, is called Durif in many parts of the world. It was engineered in the late 1800s by a French nurseryman named — you guessed it — Durif. He cross-pollinated the Rhone Valley’s venerated Syrah grape with an obscure French peasant grape called Peloursin, creating a highly marketable, mildew-resistant variety. But while the French grapegrowers admired its pest-resistance properties, finicky French wine drinkers rejected the flavor and it almost died out– the climate was too cold to develop the great flavors California coaxes from this grape. In 1884, Petite Sirah, which likely migrated to the U.S. via Ellis Island, found its name when American growers used it in their “field blends,” along with several other grapes that were unknown but popular now, like Carignan and Grenache.
Today, California grows 90 percent of the Petite Sirah vines in the world, with some small plantings in Argentina and Australia. But, much like Zinfandel, it’s distinctly American. In 2002, Foppiano Vineyards helped found P.S. I Love You, a trade organization designed to educate consumers about the Petite Sirah grape. P.S. I Love You now boasts over 100 members, all wildly enamored of this decidedly not petite-in-flavor grape.
Full-bodied and robust, Petite Sirah offers enticing flavors of blackberries and spice with luscious and structured tannins to the end. We currently have about 40 acres planted to our favorite grape, including several blocks of a specially-developed Foppiano Petite Sirah clone. Stay tuned for a limited release bottling of wine made from these blocks.
At the winery, you can arrange a special tasting older of vintages of Petite Sirah, with some available for purchase. Step back in time and experience what Louis J. Foppiano calls a “noble” wine. Also, in a nod to our past, we offer 1/2 gallon jugs of our Lot 96 Petite Sirah at the winery. Grab your growler today in Foppiano’s Tasting Room.
“As our flagship wine, we constantly work to make our Petite Sirah better with each vintage. It is our goal to take it from a great wine to an elite caliber wine.” – Paul Foppiano