Durif (red)

[Grape Variety]

This French variety, discovered in the 1860s, is much more widely known – as Petite Sirah - in California, where there were almost 4,000 acres in 2014.

Durif grape
Image: Durif grape

It is a natural cross between Peloursin, an old variety from eastern France, and Syrah, and the crossing happened by chance in the nursery of François Durif, a French botanist and grape breeder.

It was imported into the US by Charles McIver in 1884 and is now found mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, San Luis Obispo, Napa and Sonoma. So enamoured with this late-ripening variety are its devotees that they have created the PS I Love You association and website (www.psiloveyou.org), which tells you more than you ever thought to ask about this variety.

It performs well in hot, dry climates, which is why it is also found in Mexico, Israel and Rutherglen in the Australian state of Victoria. Wines tend to be deeply coloured, full bodied and full fruited, or dark and delicious as the PS lovers have named their celebrations. Try Petite Sirah from Ridge or Guenoc in California, L A Cetto in Mexico, Luis Felipe Edwards in Chile; and Durif from Rutherglen and De Bortoli in Australia.

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and José Vouillamoz; www.winegrapes.org

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