Petite Sirah vs Syrah – What Is the Difference?

syrah vs petite syrah

Hey there, wine lovers! If you’re here, chances are you’re wondering: What’s the deal with Petite Sirah and Syrah? They kind of sound alike, but are they actually the same thing? Let’s figure it out together.

What Is Petite Sirah Wine?

Petite Sirah is on e of the driest robust red wines from California, known for its rich taste and deep color. Despite the name, it’s not small in flavor. It has bold notes of dark berries, black plums, and a bit of peppery spice.

The wine’s dense tannins give it a sturdy structure, making it great for aging.


What Is Syrah Wine?

Syrah is a red wine that originates from France’s Rhône Valley. Syrah and Shiraz are the same thing, known under the name Shiraz in some regions. Syrah grapes produce wines that range from medium to full-bodied, offering a spectrum of flavors such as dark berries, plums, and often a hint of black pepper or spice.

Syrah’s adaptability to different climates results in diverse expressions, from the bold and robust wines of Australia to the more nuanced and elegant styles found in France.


Difference Between Syrah and Petite Sirah

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and uncover what sets Petite Sirah and Syrah apart:

Grape Varieties

Petite Sirah and Syrah are not the same grape; in fact, these two grapes have distinct origins and characteristics that set them apart.

The Petite Sirah grape, despite its name, is not a smaller version of Syrah but rather a unique grape variety. It originated in France as Durif, a cross between the Syrah grape and Peloursin, resulting in a dark-skinned grape with smaller berries and a thicker skin.

grape clusters

Syrah is a classic grape that hails from the Rhône Valley in France. The Syrah grape has a thicker skin, which impart deep color and contribute to the wine’s potential for aging.

The varietal thrives in diverse climates, showcasing a range of expressions, from the bold and peppery Shiraz of Australia to the more refined styles found in the Rhône.

Taste, Flavor, and Aroma

Petite Sirah often presents a bold and robust flavor profile. It’s known for its intense dark fruit flavors, such as blackberries and blueberries, accompanied by a characteristic note of peppery spice. In terms of aroma, you might catch whiffs of dark fruit, vanilla, and sometimes a touch of cocoa.

Syrah offers a diverse range of flavors depending on its origin. In the Rhône Valley, you might encounter a more restrained profile with notes of black cherry, blackberry, and a hint of violet.

Shiraz from Australia tends to be bolder, featuring ripe black fruit, plum, and a more pronounced spiciness. Syrah’s aromas are often a mix of fruit, floral, and sometimes a subtle smokiness. australian wines

red wine bottles


Petite Sirah is known for its full-bodied nature. The wine often coats the palate with a rich and dense texture, attributed to its high tannin levels and bold flavors.

The mouthfeel is robust and substantial, making Petite Sirah a go-to choice for those who appreciate wines with weight and intensity.

Syrah, while still considered a full-bodied wine, can exhibit more variability depending on its origin and winemaking style. In the Rhône Valley, Syrah wine tends to be medium to full-bodied. In Australia, the body of the wine can lean towards the fuller side.

The mouthfeel of Syrah is often characterized by a smooth and well-rounded texture.

Aging and Serving

Both Petite Sirah and Syrah benefit from aging.

Petite Sirah, with its high tannins and robust structure, matures over time, allowing flavors to harmonize. Decanting is recommended to unlock the potential of Petite Sirah wines and soften any youthful edges.

Syrah’s aging potential varies by style. Cooler climate Syrahs, like those from the Northern Rhône, are often more age-worthy.

Warmer climate Syrahs, such as Australian Shiraz wine, can be enjoyed earlier. When serving Syrah, a slight chill enhances the fruit character, and decanting, especially for mature bottles, reveals the full array of aromas and flavors.

salami with red wine


Petite Sirah’s bold and robust character complements hearty dishes like juicy steaks, barbecues, and rich stroganoff or lamb curry. Its dark fruit notes and peppery spice enhance the flavors of smoked brisket and venison stew.

Syrah is versatile in pairing, with Northern Rhône Syrah wine complementing herb-infused roasted chicken or braised lamb.

Australian Shiraz pairs well with grilled barbecues, especially smoky ribs or spicy sausages. Syrah’s adaptability extends to cheeses, making it a great match for aged cheddar or creamy gorgonzola.

Stan Kushkin