Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: April 22, 2023

Ultimate Petite Sirah Food Pairing Guide [+20 Pairings]

Petite Sirah Food Pairing Guide

Petite Sirah, also known as Durif and Petite Syrah, is a cleverly named misnomer of a wine if there ever was one. 

Petite Syrah’s plush dark fruit and chocolate flavor, combined with its rich tannic structure, make it an irresistible wine best suited for your most flavorful dishes. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about making the perfect Petite Sirah pairing. 

We cover tasting notes, regional differences, and pairing tips, then finish with some excellent food pairing recommendations. 

What Does Petite Sirah Taste Like?

Before discussing which foods to pair with Petite Sirah, it’s helpful to go over what Petite Sirah tastes like and how its regional differences affect flavor. 

Petite Sirah is a full-bodied red wine with high tannins, high alcohol, and moderate acidity. It is made from the Durif grape, invented in the 1800s by a French botanist of the same name. It is the cross between the Syrah grape and an obscure grape that is rarely seen today, Peloursin. 

The Durif grape is small, tightly clustered, and mildew resistant. Its high skin-to-juice ratio gives it high tannins and rich flavor.

This grape grew in popularity in California due to its success in California’s warm and dry climate, where it began as an addition to cheap and affordable field blends. Oak aging is typical and aids in rounding out harsh tannins

Petite Sirah can be expected to have blackberry, blueberry, chocolate, dark plum, and black pepper flavors.

Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah

Californian Petite Sirah

Despite its French origins, Petite Sirah has had rapid success in California. As previously mentioned, its mildew resistance and high skin-to-juice ratio make for easy-growing and flavorful wines.

That said, it’s unclear how much of the Petite Sirah in California is actually made from 100% Durif grapes. Due to its beginnings as a field blend, it’s likely the Petite Sirah we know in California is a blend with other grapes, including Zinfandel, Syrah, and Rhône varietals. 

Petite Sirah grown inland - like in Lodi Valley - tend to make for warmer and more fruit-forward wines. Flavors of bramble, blueberry, and jam dominate the palate and are supported by plush tannins.

In the coastal climates of California - like in Sonoma - Petite Sirah tends to be cooler with more earth and coffee flavors. 

Australian Petite Sirah

While California produces the most Petite Sirah, Australia is second and makes notable examples. In Australia and throughout Europe, Petite Sirah is most commonly known as Durif.

Durif grows primarily in Victoria, the second smallest and most southern mainland wine-growing region. This warm climate gets a reprieve from the hot days with cooling breezes from the Great Southern Ocean.

Here, Durif can be expected to have blackberries, chocolate, menthol, plums, and espresso flavors.

Israeli Petite Sirah

Deserving of an honorable mention, Petite Sirah has had recent success in Israel’s Carmel and Tishbi regions.

It was introduced by UC Davis graduates in the 1970s and has - similarly to California - progressed from being a blending grape to being a worthwhile single varietal.

Notable winemakers in Israel have succeeded with single varietals and blends of Petite Sirah with Carignan. Expect flavors of dark chocolate, plums, black cherry, and black tea.

How to Pair Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah is by no means petite in flavor. On the contrary, its robust and fruit-driven character makes it the perfect food pairing wine for richly flavored dishes. 

When paired successfully, the wine exudes juicy and earth-driven flavors and elevates the dish it’s served alongside. 

Factors to Consider When Pairing Foods with Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah is highly tannic with moderate acidity. These characteristics make Petite Sirah best suited for richly flavored, savory, and or fatty dishes. 

Petite Syrah’s subtle smoky, earthy flavor makes it ideal for pairing with smoked meats and highly-seasoned dishes. In addition, its smooth fruit flavor can balance out heavily spiced dishes, though it is best avoided with sweet or overly spicy foods. 

It’s also best to avoid lightly seasoned foods and seafood, as these will make the wine taste metallic and bitter.

The Best Petite Sirah Food Pairings

Now that we’ve gone over what not to do, it’s time for some good news! Petite Sirah is a fantastic food wine that is best served alongside your most flavorful and robust dishes.  

Here are some recommendations on what to pair with Petite Sirah wine.

Petite Sirah Meat Dish Pairings

beef ribs

Beef Ribs

  • Turkey mole - Originating in Mexico, mole is a thickened sauce made of peppers, nuts, spices, and dark chocolate. When served with tender turkey, this delicious and complicated dish deserves a Petite Sirah with complimentary earthy and chocolate flavors. 
  • Smoked ham - Smokey, savory, and slightly sweet, a smoked ham requires a wine with a matching flavor and a complimentary smokey flavor, such as Petite Sirah.
  • Carnitas - Pork cooked with an assortment of Mexican spices until ridiculously tender. This dish will pair perfectly with a fruit-forward and peppery wine like Petite Sirah.
  • Beef ribs - Tender meat in a rich sauce, you get the idea, right? Beef ribs are ridiculously flavorful, and when coated in a smoky and savory BBQ sauce, it’s best suited to Petite Sirah.
  • Burgers - Burgers and red wine are almost always a match made in heaven, and Petite Sirah is as good - if not the best - burger pairing wine around.

Petite Sirah Vegetarian Dish Pairings

Eggplant Parmigianna

Eggplant Parmigianna

  • Vegetarian chili - Petite Sirah will accentuate the spices and hearty flavor in the chili and taste sweeter in comparison.
  • Eggplant parmesan - The savory and earthy flavor of the eggplant will balance nicely with Petite Sirah, and the wine’s acidity will soften the rich flavors of the sauce. 
  • Polenta with sautéed mushrooms - Mushrooms are an ideal pairing with Petite Sirah, as it accentuates the wine's sweet flavor and adds umami complexity.
  • Moroccan vegetable tajine - A dish made of tender vegetables in a rich and aromatic sauce requires a wine with equal aromatics and a complimentary dark fruit flavor, such as Petite Sirah.
  • Caramelized onion risotto - The combination of creamy and herb-rich risotto with tender and sweet caramelized onion is best paired with a wine of equal smooth and sweet flavor, such as Petite Sirah.

Petite Sirah Appetizer Pairings

Pigs in a blanket

Pigs in a blanket

  • Wild mushroom and leek crostini - With savory wild mushrooms and sweet sautéed leeks atop crusty bread, these flavors mesh perfectly with Petite Sirah to bring out its fruity flavor. 
  • Onion dip - Creamy, rich, and decadent, this dip will be balanced nicely with a sharply tannic glass of Petite Sirah.
  • BLT sliders - Crispy bacon paired with crisp tomato on buttery slider buns deserves a wine that will add complexity and complimentary fruit flavors, such as Petite Sirah.
  • Pigs in a blanket - Smokey cocktail sausages and buttery pastry will make a glass of Petite Sirah taste far sweeter and less bitter when paired. 
  • Empanadas - This Spanish and Latin American classic is essentially a pastry stuffed with sweet or savory spices. The combination of flavors and textures from meat and veggie stuffed empanadas will balance wonderfully with Petite Sirah. 

Petite Sirah and Cheese Pairings

Gouda Cheese

Gouda cheese

  • Aged gouda - Savory, nutty, and with a subtle butterscotch flavor, this is one of the best cheeses to pair with Petite Sirah and will make it taste far sweeter and more fruity when paired.
  • Sharp white cheddar - Salty loves sweet, and a pairing between sharp white cheddar will accentuate Petite Sirah’s fruity flavor, making it taste far sweeter.
  • Blue cheese - Blue cheese is almost always a good idea with red wines, especially fruit-driven wines such as Petite Syrah. Its pungent and salty flavor will make the wine taste sweeter and fruity.
  • Asiago - Sweet and nutty, pairing Asiago with Petite Sirah will bring out the wine's complimentary black pepper and smoky flavors. 
  • Swiss - While more subtle in flavor, swiss has a pleasant nutty flavor that will add complexity and richness to a glass of Petite Sirah.

Petite Sirah and Snack Pairings



  • Cheese fries - If there were ever junk food so fitting for a bold red wine like Petite Sirah, it would be cheesy fries. The wine's plush tannins and acidity are perfect for cutting through that cheesy goodness, and the salty fries will bring out the wine’s sweet fruit flavor.
  • Pretzels - Salted pretzels are a simple snack on their own, but when paired with Petite Sirah, they will make the wine appear more complex and fruit-driven.
  • Pork rinds - Crisp, salty, and unhealthy. Such an irresistible snack deserves an irresistible wine like Petite Sirah.
  • Dark chocolate - If you enjoy the combination of berries with chocolate, then Petite Sirah is one of the best wines to pair. Dark chocolate will bring out the wine’s complimentary chocolate flavor while complimenting its bramble flavor.
  • Ham and cheddar grilled cheese - Ham and cheddar is already a perfect pairing, and when you serve this decadent sandwich alongside a berrylicious glass of Petite Sirah, you’ll have a hard time not going back for round two. 

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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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