Durif is a heavier-style red grape variety which has also been called Petite Syrah or Petite Sirah. Its actually quite confusing because not all Petite Syrah has historically been called Durif.
Durif grapes produce relatively tannic flavour wines, with a spicy, plummy taste profile. Typical falvours include; plum, blackberries, dark chocolate, mushrooms, black tea and black pepper. They are full-bodied and tannic, robust and high alchol choice for your night out.
Warning: They also pack a punch – with 14-15% alcohol content on average. Reccommended for drinking at home.
Durif is now primarily grown in Australia, California and Israel. It can also be found in Chile, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and other parts of the United States.
Did you know that over 90% of the Durif grapes in California are labelled “Petite Sirah”?
In fact the U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recognises Durif and Petite Sirah as the same grape.
History (only because its interesting): In the 1860’s a French botanist owned a nursery of several grape varieties in Tullins. At some point the new grape variety was discovered and named ‘Plant du Rif‘ by Victor Pulliat, an ampelographer. The new Durif varety was born, due to a cross pollenation of Shiraz (syrah) germinating a Peloursin flowers.
The name was later changed to ‘Durif’ after the gentleman that first identified it – Francios Durif.
Note: On some occasions, Peloursin and Syrah vines may be called Petite Sirah. This is only because each variety can be extremely difficult to distinguish in old age.
The grape’s high resistance to downy mildew encouraged its cultivation in the early 20th century in areas like Southern France; although relatively low quality results were achieved which caused the grape to fall out of favor with local wine authorities. Today, it is almost nonexistent in France.