Sirah vs Syrah vs Shiraz vs Sera

Syrah, Petite Sirah, Shiraz . . . they’re all the same, right? Not quite. While all of these grapes produce big, bold, spicy red wines, one of these things (varietals) is not like the others. In short, Syrah and Shiraz refer to the same type of dark-skinned grape grown in two different regions, while Petite Sirah is a related but different grape.

Syrah and Shiraz wines tend to be very full bodied, bold wines with notes of pepper and dark fruit flavors like blackberries. Generally, European wines are labeled Syrah while Australian wines are labeled Shiraz.

Petite Sirah is an entirely different grape varietal than Syrah (otherwise known as Shiraz) and produces a deep-colored, robust, full-bodied peppery wine with lots of tannins and tends to age well. Petite Sirah never really took off in France, where it was first grown, as it isn’t well-suited to the growing climate, but it became popular in California (particularly Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino), where it thrived for some time. It’s not as popular today as it once was in its heyday in the 70’s.

People seem to either really love or hate Petite Sirah because of its spicy and peppery intensity, compared to Syrah’s smoother, more refined qualities which make it more of a general crowd-pleaser.

Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) is a catchy little number written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1956 and featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Man Who Knew too Much starring Doris Day and James Stewart.

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About Thomas Kelleher

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