Finding a Delicious Petite Sirah under $20

petite sirah grapes small but big flavors
The Petite Sirah grape is a small grape, but one with big flavors.

Vintage Wine Taster Don Ramon decided to see if he could find delicious Petite Sirah wines for under $20. One of our favorite Petite Sirah wines is from Cedarville Vineyards. The grapes come from the Fair Play AVA in El Dorado County. The price is $36, but will serve as our benchmark to see if any of the other five wines compare with the Cedarville.

What is Petite Sirah?

The Petite Sirah grape, also known as Durif in some regions, originates in the Rhone Valley. It was discovered by Dr. Durif, and was likely the result of cross-pollination. Petite Sirah has smaller berries than other red grapes from the Rhone, but it is known for producing bold and robust wines with a dark, inky color. In 1964, the Concannon Vineyard became the first winery in California to produce a Petite Sirah and, since then, the popularity of this grape has soared among wine drinkers in California.

Petite Sirah yields a big, full-bodied wine with deep, dark fruit flavors that can sometimes be jammy, along with hints of spice and chocolate. The grape grows in many wine regions across California wine country.

Petite Sirah taste off

Delicious Petite Sirah for under $20
Finding Delicious Petite Sirah for under $20

These are the six Petite Sirah wines we blind tasted and how they ranked

  • 2016 Foppiano – Russian River Valley – $14.99 at Costco and $16.99 at Total Wines – Tie
  • 2019 McManis – Lodi – $9.99 at Total Wines – Tie
  • 2020 Oak Ridge – Lodi – $13.99 at Total Wines
  • 2019 Cedarville Vineyard – El Dorado County – $36 at the winery
  • 2020 Bogle – California* – $7.99 at Total Wines – Best Buy 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast
  • 2019 Kaleidoscope – California – $13.99 at Total Wines – Best Buy 90 Points from Wine Enthusiast

* A California designation on the wine label means that the wine contains grapes from various areas of California, most likely from the Central Coast. A wine must be 85% from a specific AVA to list that area on the label. The Foppiano grapes in the Petite Sirah are 100% Russian River Valley.

One of our favorite wines, the Cedarville Petite, came in at number 4. It is $36 at the winery and relatively expensive compared to the other wines in the tasting. It is good to find some other wines we like at a bargain price. The Foppiano ($14.99) and McManis ($14.99) tied for our top ranking. The Foppiano is from the famous Russian River Valley AVA in Sonoma County. The McManis is from Lodi, and a spunky, young Petite. I favor the more elegant Foppiano. 

Interestingly, the 5th and 6th place wines, the Bogle and the Kaleidoscope, are rated Best Buy wines by the Wine Enthusiast. So is this a generous rating by W.E., or are our palates off the mark? You be the judge.

Pairing Petite Sirah with foods 

Petite Sirah wines go hand-in-hand with grilled meats, particularly marinated ones with spices. Applying a good barbecue rub, or brushing the beef with mild barbecue sauces, brings out the great flavors of Petite Sirah. One of our favorite dishes with Petite Sirah is good old fashioned, slow-cooked and smoked baby back ribs. If you’re not a meat eater, try a mushroom risotto, a Portabello mushroom burger, or a spicy black bean chili dish.

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