Durif red wine variety in Australia

Durif is a red wine variety known for its role in producing Robust wines in warm regions. But there is more to it than that. Like many grape varieties Durif is making a comeback after being overlooked in the rush by vignerons to get with the strength and concentrate on mainstream varieties.

But Durif is making a comeback; it is now much more widely used than in its old stronghold of Rutherglen. Some great red wines are now being made in many warmer Australian wine regions with the label proudly identifying the variety.

This red wine grape from the Rhone Valley is not highly regarded in its native France. It is named after its breeder who established the variety in the late nineteenth century. It was introduced into Australia by pioneering Victorian viticulturalist Francois de Castella in 1908.

The variety is planted in California under the name of Petite Sirah where there has been some confusion about the variety. Many Californian vineyards have proved to have mixtures of Durif and another variety called Pelorisin.

In Australia, the CSIRO uses DNA fingerprinting to clear up confusion about similar grape varieties. They report that the clones imported to Australia are indeed Durif and not Peloursin.

Durif wines tend to have high levels of tannins and so are suitable for extended cellaring to allow the wines to come together. Modern winemakers of course aim to produce wines which will be drinkable much earlier so this may not be such a factor as it was in the past.

However if you are looking for an subtle and understated red you should look elsewhere. The alcohol level in these wines is often in the 14-15% range, with flavour to match.

Durif wine and food

This variety makes full bodied wines so you might enjoy Durif with rich stews and game dishes. For example, you might like to try my recipe for Braised Oxtail with Black Olives

Wineries with Durif In Australia

As the graphic below shows the variety is now grown in many more wineries than Rutherglen.

Durif wine in Australian wine Regions

1838 Wines Mudgee |
This page recently updated to include new wineries listed in
James Halliday's Wine Companion 2014
201 Wines Hunter Valley | 919 Wines Riverland | All Saints Estate Rutherglen | Anderson Winery Rutherglen | Atze's Corner Wines Barossa Valley | Bailey's of Glenrowan Glenrowan | Battely Wines Beechworth | Beelgara Estate Riverina | Bellarine Estate Geelong | Boyntons Feathertop Alpine Valleys | Brown Brothers King Valley | Brumby Wines Swan Hill | Bullers Calliope Rutherglen | Calais Estate Hunter Valley | Calico Town Rutherglen | Campbells Wines Rutherglen | Cape Horn Vineyard Goulburn Valley | Captain Barossa Barossa Valley | Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen | Charles Cimicky Barossa Valley | Ciavarella King Valley | Cirami Estate Riverland | Cofield Wines Rutherglen | Connor Park Bendigo | Currans Family Wines Murray Darling | Date Brothers Swan Hill | Domaine Asmara Heathcote | Dos Rios Swan Hill | Drinkmoor Wines Rutherglen | Eldorado Road North East Victoria | Eumundi Winery Queensland Coastal | Folino Estate Alpine Valleys | Gapsted Alpine Valleys | Gehrig Estate Rutherglen | Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt | Heritage Estate Granite Belt | Jaengenya Wines Goulburn Valley | John Gehrig Wines King Valley | Judds Warby Range Estate Glenrowan | Kabminye Wines Barossa Valley | Kalleske Wines Barossa Valley | Kingston Estate Riverland | Lake Moodemere Rutherglen | Lion Mill Vineyards Perth Hills | Maleny Mountain Wines Queensland Coastal | Mandalay Road Geographe | Massena Wines Barossa Valley | Melange Wines Riverina | Michael Unwin Wines Grampians | Miranda Wines, Griffith Riverina | Monichino Wines Goulburn Valley | Morris Rutherglen | Morrisons of Glenrowan Glenrowan | Mount Pilot Estate North East Victoria | Mount Prior Rutherglen | Mount Buff Wines Alpine valleys | Mudgee Wines Mudgee | Murray Estate Big Rivers Zone | Myattsfield Vineyard and Winery Perth Hills | New Glory Goulburn Valley | Noble Red Heathcote | Normanby Wines Queensland Zone | Oak Works Riverland | Olive Hills Estate Rutherglen | Paradine Estate Queensland Zone | Patrice Winery North East Victoria | Petersons Glenesk Estate Mudgee | Piako Vineyards Murray Darling | Pieter van Gent Mudgee | Piromit Wines Riverina | Pyren Vineyard Pyrenees | Reedy Creek Northern Slopes Zone | Renewan Swan Hill | Riverina Estate Wines Riverina | Rose Hill Estate Wines King Valley | Rothbury Ridge Hunter Valley | Rusticana Langhorne Creek | Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen | Sam Miranda Wines King Valley | Scion Vineyard Rutherglen | Spook Hill Wines Riverland | St Annes Vineyards Perricoota | St Petrox Hunter Valley | Stanton and Killeen Wines Rutherglen | Steinborner Family Vineyards Barossa Valley | Taminick Cellars Glenrowan | Tawonga Vineyard Alpine Valleys | Thomas New England Estate New England | Tinonnee Vineyard Hunter Valley | Toolleen Vineyard Heathcote | Trahna Rutherglen Wines Rutherglen | Underground Winemakers Mornington Peninsula | Vale Vineyard Mornington Peninsula | Valhalla Wines Rutherglen | Vintara Rutherglen | Warrabilla Wines Rutherglen | Watchbox Wines Rutherglen | Wedgetail Ridge Estate Darling Downs | Westend Estate Riverina | Wirruna Estate North East Victoria | Witches Falls Winery Granite Belt | Wynwood Estate Hunter Valley | Yacca Paddock Vineyards Adelaide Hills |

Surprisingly, Durif has also found its way to cool climate areas. John Vale of Vale Wines at Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula has successfully pioneered the variety. You can read all about his experiences in his article Cool Climate Durif? You must be kidding! in the Winemakers' Tales section of Vinodiversity.

Dan Crane, winemaker at All Saints Winery in the Rutherglen Region has written about how long maceration is used to bring out the best of the variety's prodigious tannins when making All Saints Durif

You can also read this article where Smithy from Warrabilla wines has written "Confessions of a Durif tragic"

The depth of flavour and body of the wine seems to be enhanced by the bubbles. A great way to start your acquaintance with sparkling red wine is with a bottle of Morris Sparkling Durif.

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