available sometime 2013
Syrah, Shiraz, Petite Sirah - confused? You should be. First planted in France around the 6th century, but by Greek immigrants. Syrah’s origin actually goes back to the time of Christ and before to the city of Shiraz, in today’s southeastern Iran. So Syrah and Shiraz are just two names for the same basic grape. This was recently verified in our tasting room by an Iranian women who was actually born in Shiraz, Iran and so pleased to see we knew that history.
But Petite Sirah is a grape misnamed. There is a belief by Frenchman of old that there existed a clone of Syrah in the northern Rhone that had smaller berries than the Syrah of sohuthern Rhone. But that is not Petite Sirah. UC Davis researchers in the 1990's revealed that the identity of Petite Sirah was actually Durif, a cross between Syrah and Peloursin developed around 1880 at te University of Montpellier by a grape breeder named Durif. Durif produced small berries with saturated color, dense fruit, and many of the characteristics of Syrah. But in California Petite Sirah is not petite at all in its size nor its wine character and shouldn’t be confused with Syrah/Shiraz.
The origin of our Syrah/Shiraz took a long journey before planted here in Fair Play. I personally took cuttings from one of California’s original Rhone Rangers, my nearby neighbor Sierra Vista Winery in 1989. John MacCready, of Sierra Vista, told me he sourced the grapes from Estrella River Vineyards in Paso Robles who got their vines from a pretigious Shiraz vineyard in Australia, who imported their vines all the way from the famous northern Rhone where the original prized clone of Syrah produces the coveted Cote Rotie wines. So you could call our Syrah, Syrah or Shiraz, and be correct; but don’t confuse it with Petite Sirah.
Right out the starting gate with our first vintage of estate Syrah, I could tell this was a winner. As a matter of fact, every vintage of our Syrah has won awards: Golds, Silvers and Bronzes. And our 1999 vintage stole the show at the Rhone Wine Competition 2000 hosted by the El Dorado County Fair with the Best of Show sponsored by our famed country French restaurant Zachary Jacques. Its like the mouse that roared with our production at that time limited to our original one acre block producing just over 125 cases. Now we have 3 more acres planted of Syrah planted on their own roots propagated from cuttings from our original one acre block.