The last wine from Barra of Mendocino I'm looking at this week is their Petite Sirah. This is a varietal that absolutely fascinates me. What seems to really get me excited about Petite is how much it can change over time. When they're young they can be dense and monolithic and at the same time exuberant and bold. With age, well made Petite Sirah gains a lot of secondary characteristics and complexities. There are a number of well made, reasonably priced Petite Sirah that will age nicely for a long while. One of the questions I set out to answer when tasting this wine is, would it be one of them? The 2004 Petite Sirah from Barra of Mendocino is 86% varietal and the balance Zinfandel. 507 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $23.
If you're going to drink this wine over the next couple of years, I recommend decanting it for a couple of hours. That time allows it to really come into its own and express its charms. Once it does, plum fills the nose with a touch of cinnamon underpinning it. The palate offers blackberry and cherry notes interspersed with dark, dusty baker's chocolate characteristics. The finish has a bit of earth and some prominent chicory and spice notes that linger. Much like the other wines from Barra, this Petite Sirah is nicely balanced and built for food. Strong cheeses, roasted meats or a nice Italian Sunday dinner would be my recommendations.
I went back to this wine twice, once after it had been open for 24 hours and a second time after 48 hours. In both cases, this Petite Sirah had simply continued to evolve and was even more exciting to drink. This wine will likely improve in the bottle for at least four or five years. I'd expect it to drink well for a decade or more. When you choose to drink it is going to come down to personal taste. It's deep, dark, bold and brash right now. A decade from now it should have more subtle fruit and more prominent earth characteristics. Either way this is an excellent example of Petite Sirah. Barra of Mendocino is making some really nice, reasonably priced wines, I recommend checking them out.
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