Thursday, August 21, 2008

Three 2007 Petite Sirah California

Petite Sirah is a grape many wineries treat as a condiment: the extra ingredient that spices the stew of their red wine blends. Every once in a while though, a bottle of 100% Petite Sirah wine escapes to the market. These are deep, passionate wines and they are also profoundly appetizing. They leave your mouth watering and your mind dreaming of meat and cheese and pasta. Petite Sirah is-if you don’t mind personality words used for wine-assertive, maybe even ill-mannered. The kind of wine that tells a dirty joke and then laughs a bit too loud. 100% Petite Sirahs are also very rare and for people who resent the macdonaldization of wine, very precious.

The Winery:

This wine exists thanks to the foresight of Matt Cline who has sought out these small, family-owned parcels. Cline was the winemaker of Cline Cellars, famous for delicious varietals at great prices. The Petite Sirah grape itself is the result of cross-breeding to find a grape that was resistant to another vineyard plague: downy mildew. These are tough old guys and we really like that in a vine.

Tasting notes: dark chocolate and red berries followed by a soft tannic grip. Later tasting emphasized a dry earthy character with a touch of red fruit and white pepper.
With Food: room temperature slices of dry cheese intercept the tannins in this baby and allow a dry, earthy palate to come through. Our favorite food combo was a ripe tomato sandwich on crusty bread with a slice of cheddar and some field greens.

For more about Petite Sirah and other varieties, check out The New Short Course in Wine.

No comments: