Synonym: Petite Syrah, Dure, Pinot de Romans, Pinot de l’Ermitage, Nerin, Bas Plant, Plant Fourchu, Syrah Forchue, Dureza, Plant Durif, Serine, Kek Durif.
Commonly mistaken for: Peloursin.
Origin: It is a native vine of France, from the Rhone Valley; created in the 1870s by a French nurseryman Dr. François Durif (this explains the origin of its name), crossing Syrah X Peloursin, propagated for its resistance to powdery mildew. This variety was planted in California under the name of Petite Syrah (or Petit Sirah), it was thought for almost a century to be a separate variety; it was only thought DNA testing in 2002 by Dr. Carole Meredith, at the University of California at Davis that the confusion was cleared up, so now Petite Syrah and Durif must be considered synonymous.
Agronomic and environmental aspects: variety characterized by a high and quite constant production. It is a rustic and vigorous vine, suitable for any types of soils, but it grows better in the sunnier and less rainy climate of California than in its native Rhone Valley. VSP, with medium-high density of planting and cane pruning or spur pruning are recommended; also traditional wide or semi-wide training systems give good results.
Diseases, pests and disorders: Excellent resistance to powdery mildew, medium to the other common pests and diseases. This variety shows particular sensitivity to bunch rot (in clones with very compact bunches) and sunburn (in the exposed fruit).
Growing Tip: fully open, medium-sparse density of prostrate hairs, of yellowish-green colour, with bronze spots.
Leaf: medium-large size, pentagonal, 5-lobed. Has a closed lyre or U-shape petiolar sinus, superior side sinuses shaped like a closed U, sometimes strongly overlapping, the inferior are an open U-shaped. The profile is slightly undulated, hairless above and with only a few cobwebby hairs below, with lobes half overlapping. The teeth are convex on both side.
Bunch: medium, long, of cylindrical or pyramidal form, with short wings, compact.
Berry: medium-small (average 1.73 g.), round; with a thick skin of violet-black colour, with little bloom.
- H7V13: Selected by University of California, it’s a Davis clone. The vine has good vigour. The bunch is of medium size, cylindrical form, compact, rarely winged. Good resistance to botrytis.
It is an important blending grape; the wine has an intense deep red colour, fairly tannic, with an unexpected degree of acidity. Depending on the winemaker’s style, the wine can vary from soft and short lived to very robust and tannic. With ageing the wine acquires delicacy, developing varietal fragrances of black pepper. Cultivated not only in France and California, but also in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. In California the variety is most often blended into Zinfandel (Primitivo) to add complexity, body and to tone down the “jammy” fruit taste. While in Australia it grows in the North Eastern Victorian wine regions and is used to make table wine and interesting sparkling reds.