French native crossing of Petit Syrah and Peloursin, propagated by Dr Durif (I would also name a vine after myself!). In it’s native land of France, it was not considered to be a grape of high quality and you’ll be hard pressed to find it these days.
It is found in USA, notably in California and is labelled under Petite Syrah.
In Australia, Durif found a welcome home in the hot land of Rutherglen, in North-Eastern Victoria. Here it makes inky, ballsy, tannic wines of lionesque magnificence. Recently, Riverina and Riverland have jumped onto the band wagon but have yet to produce anything that I have tried that would give Rutherglen Durif a run for the money.
My love for Durif started fairly early, with plenty of stumbling blocks, with a fairly common question of “what is durif?” from everyone else’s lips. Vintage Cellars was the place, during work hours and an article about a maligned grape that is unloved in it’s native land but that has found a very welcome spot in the land of fortifieds – Rutherglen, Victoria. With a bit of hunting down I tried my first sip, and the love was confirmed – Morris Durif. A two week stint at the Sydney Easter Show helping with the Hunter Valley Wines stand, momentous meetings with like minded Durif-iles and The plan was set, and with just over a year after first sight the trip to the heartland was set!
Boxing Day, December 26, 2007 – my birthday and graduation present to myself – a trip to Rutherglen, Victoria to taste all that is there to taste, hunting down Durif. A memory of a lifetime. Hottest week in years. New car airconditioning didn’t stand a chance. We baked and sampled, and drank. The joy of Rutherglen for a visitor is that majority of the wineries are really close. One was within a 5 minute walk of the our ‘home’ the Victoria Hotel. Anderson Winery are the producers of the magnificent Cellar Block Durif – cemented me on the spot. There’s simply too much to sample from Durif, surprisingly good whites and reds, and all those stunning fortifieds! Three days, four nights of wine and food like never before.Only regret? Not being able to find Buller Wines – three times! Ended up driving off into the country side and found Pfeiffer Wines. Having had some amazing examples from Buller Wines at home, they are still on the To Do list…
Highlights: Morris of Rutherglen, All Saint’s Estate, Anderson Winery, Campbell Wines, Pfeiffer Wines, Mount Prior, Stanton and Killeen, Valhala and Vintara (Tempranillo and beer).
Confessions of a Durif Tragic by Andrew Sutherland Smith, Winemaker and self confessed Durif Tragic @ Warrabilla Wines, Rutherglen.
“What I really enjoy is the black phase fruit characters that this variety has in abundance. Dark morello cherries, satsuma plum, dark fine chocolate, huge mouthfeel and soft tannins. Trouble is to get those you have to go beyond what is considered normally ripe, 15 Beaume fruit is just the start of these characters..so you’re really looking at wines of 15.5 % alc to be any good…more like 16!”
See full article at http://www.vinodiversity.com/warrabilla-durif.html
Sounds interesting? Think about visiting…I’d take at least a week as 3 days is simply not enough to try it all. Oh, and yeah, bring a driver!
Visitor Info for Rutherglen, Victoria