Syrah v. Shiraz v. Petite Sirah

Syrah v. Shiraz v. Petite Sirah

Ever wonder what the difference is between these wines?

What’s the difference between Syrah and Shiraz? 

Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape.  DNA testing has shown that Syrah is indigenous to France, despite rumors that it may have come from Persia.  In the 1800s, Syrah was planted in Australia where they called it “Shiraz”. In addition to Australia's using “Shiraz” as its name for Syrah, some winemakers outside of Australia have started to use the term to indicate a more fruit-forward, less-tannic style of wine made from Syrah. 

Are Syrah and Petite Sirah related? 

While Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, Syrah and Petite Sirah are different. Petite Sirah is actually the child of Syrah and an almost extinct grape called Peloursin. Petite Sirah was created by Francois Durif in the late 1800s, which is why Petite Sirah is often referred to as “Durif”.  

How do these wines compare?

Both Syrah and Petite Sirah are bold wines with lots of tannins and spice notes. They are often used in blends to boost color, tannin and body, but they are popular as stand-alone varietals as well. They both can have blueberry, black pepper and chocolate flavors, but Syrah tends to also have savory herb flavors (which can come across as eucalyptus in Shiraz) and a meatiness (often referred to as bacon fat) that is not present in Petite Sirah.

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