8 • September 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC. THE I magine BOUNTY being plucked

from your homeland short- ly after being born. (Some there would argue that

you were ostracized.) You’re brought to the Atlantic Ocean from European soils, where you board a steamship headed

America. You land

for at

Ellis Island and are put onto the next train headed to California,

and you never look back. According to wine indus- try historian Charles Sullivan, Charles McIver of Linda Vista Vineyards (Mission San Jose) imported Durif to the U.S. in 1884, and coined it “Petite

Zak Zaikine:

A Whimsical Sonoma County Artist!


Sirah.” Affection? Size of the grape? Couldn’t pronounce “Durif?” Just didn’t want the father’s name to be dropped forever because it would make it harder to tell the story? Who knows? That’s lost forever, and continues the mystery of our American legend.

What McIver is responsible for is that he brought the “Wild West” its greatest “Wild Child.” And, like so many others that have made the arduous, cul- ture-shock-filled journey, this is where it ultimately has flour- ished. Petite Sirah has been ful- ly allowed to express all of its capabilities, not encumbered by what mixed lineage would have imposed upon its nature in France. Labeled in France as a misfit, Petite Sirah in the US is all-American variety. Although its grapes are pe-

tite, don’t be fooled. This wine completely expresses its con- centration of color, flavors, tex- tures, and tannins in ways that could only be imagined in its adopted homeland. The Ameri- can Legend... Petite Sirah. Pe- tite Sirah… It’s not for fainting ladies, though. It’s also not for the White Zinfandel crowd. It’s

By Jo Diaz of Gyserville, CA. ~ Petite Sirah, the John Wayne of Grapes?

for the anyone looking for an alternative to Cabernet Sauvi- gnon, at affordable prices. Petite Sirah survived Phyl-

loxera. During Prohibition it was Petite Sirah that was used as the sacramental wine, and the wine that home winemak- ers were being allowed to make and enjoy. It was also the dried grapes that were being shipped east as raisins for reconstitut- ing. And, it was the grape that Napa Valley was planted to by 60 percent, in the 1960s. Pe- tite Sirah… Our All-American Legend!

Ancient History Revealed

“Durif” (a.k.a Petite Sirah) was the name that Dr. François Dur- if, a French botanist at the Uni- versity of Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon

edith was actively working at the University of California at Davis, she discovered through DNA fingerprinting that Syrah is the identifiable source of the pollen


crossed with

Pelour- sin


flow- The

originally was although, recently the pretty

much unregulated South of France has taken Petite Sirah into its heart.

When I began to work with Petite Sirah in 2002, creating P.S. I Love You, the advocacy group for Pe- tite Sirah, there were

only 62

growers and producers combined, Today, there are


grape’s high re- sistance


of southern France, gave to this cultivar. In 1880, Dr. Durif re- leased this new variety that had grown from a seed he extracted from fruit of the old French variety Peloursin crossed with Syrah. Dr. Durif didn’t know the pollen source at the time of the crossing. In 1997, how- ever, when Dr. Carole Mer-

growers and producers in my database...

from 62 to

powdery mildew en- couraged its cultivation


the early twen- tieth century in areas like Isère and Ardèche. At the time, the relatively low qual- ity of the resulting wine caused the Durif grape to fall out of favor with local wine authorities. Today

New work now at:

Bodega Landmark Studio Gallery 17255 Bodega Hwy, Bodega (707) 876-3477

Hand Goods Gift Shop 3627 Main St., Occidental (707) 874-2161

Also available are hand signed

greeting cards at Andy’s Market in Sebastopol and Community Market in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.

Chart Readings are off ered by appointment.

Contact: Zak Zaikine (707) 823-9340

Williebird’s Restaurant 1150 Santa Rosa Ave

Santa Rosa • 707-542-0861 8 • September 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

Restaurant Hours: Monday - Saturday 7:00AM - 9:00PM Sunday 7:00AM - 8:00PM

Williebird’s Retail Store 5350 HWY 12,

Santa Rosa • 707-545-2832 Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. ~ Ann Landers

A Sonoma County Tradition! “Turkey always and turkey all ways!”

to 1,181 in only 16 years. What used to be rustic and pretty much unknown in 2002, is now emerging into an unex- pected variety worth trying.

How this has been done is through co- pious Petite

sirah Symposiums, it’s almost non-existent in France;

where winemakers and growers have shared their practices

of success. At our first sym- posium, winemaker Jeff Cohn told me, “I came here not want- ing to say anything, just listen. Before I knew it, I was spilling my guts.” I credit Jeff Cohn of J.C. Cellars, with the original taming of the shrew, when he talked about cold fermentation in small vats, and gently punch- ing down the cap, rather than forceful pump overs. His care- fully winemaking practices and the days of Petite Sirah being too rustic have tamed the tan- nins, and the rest has become history. It’s once burly persona of John Wayne has been soft- ening into its rightful place as a wine characterized by Sophia Loren.

Jo Diaz

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