I have a granddaughter whose middle name is Sirah… Yes, in honor of my life’s work that’s involved Petite Sirah. I’ve been writing stories for my grandchildren, and I recently thought, “How can I explain to a two year old what her middle name means to me personally, and why she was given this particular name?” After all, it’s not like being named Astrid Jo… She’s been named Astrid Sirah.
The name Astrid: Astrid has been a Scandinavian royal name since the tenth century, and more recently in Belgium. But “Astrid” as a name hasn’t assimilated into our culture. Astrid Lindgren is the author of Pippi Longstocking, the children’s story, for a modern usage. Astrid is also a character in the story “How to Train Your Dragon.” This is how we see our Astrid Sirah…
She’s quite the character, and please pay attention to this story, because this is the “child’s version” of a royal female. I’m going to be upping the game on this one, too, for an adult version of Sirah, and how she came to be, as I rewrite the Petite Sirah Wine Bible…
Sirah, The Scandinavian Princess
Once upon a time, in a land far away called Montpellier, lived a plant doctor. He worked in the royal garden for King Syrah and his Queen Peloursin.
The doctor’s name was François. François loved his plants so much. Sometimes he had to help his flowers and vines in the king and queen’s garden to stay healthy. When one of the royal plants would become ill, Dr. François would always search for a new cure.
Sometimes the doctor could pair one plant with another, and create a child plant that would not ever get that disease again.
One day Dr. François had to cure some very sick grapes. The grapes were getting powder all over them overnight.
This was not good and the grapes needed to be fixed.
But Dr. Francois didn’t understand how this was happening.
It was just time to experiment again.
He decided to first try dusting Queen Peloursin’s silky robes with King Syrah’s magic dust. Voila! The sickness went away.
Together, they created a new baby girl plant.
What to name her, they thought?
Dr. Francois suggested to the king and queen that they call this new baby girl Durif.
The king and queen liked that name a lot.and, so, their new baby grape was called Durif.
Little Durif turned into a very beautiful young woman.
One day, she was down by the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and a Pirate Ship appeared.
The captain Pirate Charles saw Durif by the water’s edge.
Her beauty stole is heart, and so Durif made a plan to ask for her hand in marriage.
Pirate Charles dressed like an important prince. He went to the castle and asked the King and Queen if he could marry Sirah.
King Sirah and Queen Peloursin said yes, that Durif could marry Pirate Charles. And so they were married in the Royal Garden.
Pirate Charles loved her beauty, but soon came to learn that he loved her heart even more, while they were sailing to the new land.
He knew that this young princess would be so happy in the “new” land, and he would do everything he could to have her live happily ever after.
So, he brought her onto his ship, and set sail for California. They traveled almost around the world.
When they landed in the San Francisco Bay, Pirate Charles then brought her to Mission San Jose.
It wasn’t exactly a palace, but it she did love her new land.
Durif had plenty of sunshine to warm her, and her skin hues began to deepen with the sun’s warm rays.
Little Durif flourished here.
Pirate Charles wanted to hide Durif’s true princess identity, so he renamed her. He said, one bright and sunny shiny day:
Your new name is going to be Sirah.
Yes, I like that, he thought.
“You are now Sirah.
And, you’re so Petite, Sirah…
Oh… wait a minute!
That’s who you are,
You’re now Petite Sirah!”
[Don’t tell my Sirah, but Petite Sirah developed into quite the seductress; and, that’s going to be yet another story for when she’s old enough to appreciate it.]
Petite Sirah’s High Seas adventures with Pirate Charles, and their Pirate Secrets… next…