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Petite Sirah

Barra of Mendocino - 2004 Petite Sirah

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 barra2of 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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Ravenswood - 2006 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah

There are a ton of wines out there to drink with your holiday meal this Thanksgiving. And it seems there are almost as many recommendations guiding your choices. That's important, but what about rw_vb_bottle_petitesirahthe next day? Come Friday the big Thanksgiving meal will be over and you'll have a refrigerator full of leftovers. You may choose to eat them as they are, make sandwiches or completely re-purpose some of the leftovers to create new dishes. Regardless of your choice, you'll probably want to enjoy some wine with that post-holiday feast. So I set out to write about a wine that would be an appropriate match for your leftovers. I wanted this to be a widely available wine that was also priced to move off the shelf. It should be the sort of selection you might consider drinking any day of the week. After tasting through a handful of wines I had lined up to write about, I chose the Ravenswood 2006 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah as my recommendation to match with your 2008 Thanksgiving leftovers. The Ravenswood 2006 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah is 92% varietal and the balance Syrah. This offering was aged in mostly French oak with 15% of it being new. The suggested retail price for this wine is $10.

Violet and plum notes fill the nose of this Petite Sirah. Dark fruit characteristics are prominent throughout the palate, along with subtler but present nutmeg and pepper. Dark chocolate notes emerge in the mid-palate and carry through the finish which also shows understated hints of sour cherry. Good acidity and a very approachable style make this an excellent match for a wide array of cuisine.

Most of us will have a wide array of leftovers staring at us this Friday. The Ravenswood Petite Sirah is a great choice to match up with whatever your refrigerator ends up stuffed with. At a suggested price of $10, this wine is a very nice value that offers good varietal character and lots of flavor. The selections in the Ravenswood "Vintners Blend" series are widely available, making this an easy go to wine wherever you're located.

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Locatelli Vineyards & Winery - 2006 Melodia

The final wine I'm looking at this week from Locatelli Vineyards & Wineryis a blend. They make several other blends as well. The other red blends are more focused on Bordeaux varietals. Melodia is a distinctly California style blend. MelodiaLocatelli Vineyards 2006 Melodia is a 50/50 blend of Zinfandel & Petite Sirah. Only 59 cases of this wine were produced and it sells for $35.

Dark plum, violet and vanilla notes comprise the expressive nose of this wine. From the very first sip Melodia proves itself to be a full, mouth-filling wine at both the high and low end of the flavor spectrum. Tons of berry fruit present throughout. On the mid-palate they're accompanied by fruitcake spices. The finish of this wine is long and persistent with copious dark chocolate and spice notes dominating along with subtle earthiness. The wine would be an excellent accompaniment to roast leg of lamb or other substantial foods.

Melodia is alternately layered, complex, big and beefy. Decanting this wine for at least an hour is recommended to get the best out of it now. I imagine a year or so down the road it'll be drinking even better than it is at this time. Towards that end I re-tasted this wine after it had been open for a full 24 hours. What I found is a wine that was even more open expressive and ultimately impressive  than it was on the first night.

Zinfandel and Petite Sirah blended together in California are as natural as grape partners come.  Often times It's a small percentage of one of the other blended into a varietal bottling. In this case they get equal billing. It works tremendously well. I enjoyed all three Locatelli wines I tasted through this week, but Melodia was my favorite. I suspect with that Petite Sirah backbone it might age the best as well. If you're interested, grab them now I understand the already small production is dwindling.

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Concannon Vineyards - 2005 Limited Release Petite Sirah

Fittingly Conncannon Vineyards is the last stop for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. Back in 1964 they were the first winery to varietally label Petite Sirah. Their history in the California Wine Industry goes back many years before that. Of all the varietals they produce, Petite Sirah remains their calling card. The 2005 Concannon Vineyards Limited Release Petite Sirah is 95% varietal. Merlot (2.5%), Petit Verdot (1%) Cincannonand mixed reds make up the balance. This wine spent 12 months in French and American oak barrels. 75,000 cases of this wine were produced and it's suggested retail price is $16.

The Concannon Petite Sirah opens with vanilla, berry and cedar notes in the nose. It's a bit tight out of the bottle and decanting is strongly recommended. Once it opens up the Concannon Petite shows itself to be a rich, structured and complex wine for the money. Dark berry shows up throughout the palate along with persistent spice notes. The finish has lots more spice with a touch of earth, mocha and some espresso notes. The oak on this wine is prominent but not overwhelming. Enjoy this wine with grilled meats or dishes featuring mushrooms.

The Concannon Limited release Petite Sirah is impressive within it's price point, Considering how much of this wine is made year after year they do a nice job providing lots of true varietal character. This is perhaps the most commonly available Petite Sirah. It acts as an excellent introduction to the grape for those unfamiliar with Petite Sirah. Tasted side by side with the Bogle Petite I looked at a few days ago it offers a nice contrast in styles from that one in a similar price range. while the retail price for this wine is $16 it can generally be found for closer to $11.

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And Thus Concludes The 12 Days of Petite Sirah

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Fife Vineyards - 2002 Redhead Vineyards Petite Syrah

At the 12 Days of Petite Sirah comes close to ending I've fixed my gaze at Mendocino County. This time the producer is Fife Vineyards. Founder Dennis has a long and storied history in the California wine industry. A history that dates back to be President of legendary Inglenook Napa Valley. After several other impressive stops along the way he founded his own winery in 1991. Petite Sirah is a varietal he's worked with since 1972 The Fife Vineyards 2002 Redhead Vineyards Petie Syrah is 95% varietal with 5% Carignane blended in.  FifeProduction is fairly small at 533 cases. The suggested retail price is $24.

The Fife Petite Syrah opens with blackberries and cherry liqueur in the nose. Out of the bottle this wine is a bit tight and decanting is highly encouraged. Once this wines unwinds and begins to express itself it shows black pepper and vanilla at first followed by an absolutely tremendous expression of cherry that cuts through the mid-palate and lingers until the finish. More pepper, both black an white highlight the finish along with lingering dried fruit notes and a closing chicory note. This wine is rich,  well balanced and built to accompany food. This wine is dry and sonewhat austere, making it a good bet for a wide array of foods.

The Fife Vineyards 2002 Redhead Vineyards Petite Syrah is a rich offering with an elegant and austere dryness to it. With a solid 45 minutes in the decanter this wine is drinking quite well right now.

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Edna Valley Vineyard -2006 Petite Sirah

Having recently looked at a few releases from Edna Valley Vineyard I decided to include them in the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. Their vineyards are classic, cool climate Central Coast locations. While they are a fairly large winery with numerous wines in wide distribution, Petite Sirah isn't one of those. They make a small lots of Petite Sirah most years, with the allocation going to their wine club and direct purchases at their tasting room. This wine retails for $20. EVVVanilla and dark plum are the most dominant notes in the nose of the Edna Valley Vineyard Petite Sirah. Right from the first sip, rich jammy fruit bursts out of this wine. Nutmeg, vanilla and subtle cedar notes make up the medium length finish. Good acidity is present, keeping this wine in balance. Match it up with big bold foods such as a BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich.

Right now the hallmark of this wine is big bold and jammy fruit, not unlike a Zinfandel in style actually. If you like big, fruity wines that get in your face a little bit then drinking this one young is definitely recommended. If you lay it down for a few years that fruit will settle down a little and earthiness will take hold. Both ways will be enjoyable, it just depends what your preference is. For $20, this is a good value in Petite Sirah.

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12 Days of Petite Sirah Concludes Later Today

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Markham Vineyards - 2004 Petite Sirah

Markham Vineyards in Napa Valley is the next one I'm looking at for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. Over the years I've enjoyed many of their offerings, from their staples such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to budget releases from their second label, Glass Mountain ,to smaller lot productions.Markham PS The 2004 Markham Vineyards Petite Sirah falls into that latter category. This wine is 100% varietal and bit more than half of it spent approximately 20 months in French oak of varying age with the remainder in American oak. The suggested retail price for this Petite is $35.

The Markham Vineyards Petite Sirah is tight and a bit tart out of the bottle. This offering definitely requires decanting for a minimum of an hour (two would be better). Once it opens up blackberry, dark chocolate and baker's spices dominate the palate of this wine. The nose is full of violets and plum. White pepper is the most prominent of a host of spice notes that dominate this wines finish. This is a well-structured wine with firm tannins and good acidity. It'll match up with a wide array of bold, full flavored foods.

At almost four years old the Markham Vineyards Petite Sirah is still quite young. My suggestion is to lay it down for a year or two if you can. If you want to enjoy it fully now, decanting for several hours is strongly encouraged. The hallmark of Markham Vineyards wines for me across all their offerings and price levels has always been true varietal character. The 2004 Petite Sirah is no exception to that.

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12 Days of Petite Sirah Concludes Later Today

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Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards - 2005 Petite Sirah

Santa Barbara California is the next place the 12 Days of Petite Sirah is stopping off. Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards makes a wide array of wines under several different labels. Founded in 1996 they have acreage under vine in three separate and distinct areas of Santa Barbara County. One of their LL Petite Sirahlabels (Mandolina) is dedicated to Italian varietals. The 2005 Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards Petite Sirah I 100% varietal. All the fruit comes from their Los Alamos vineyard which is within the cool climate Santa Barbara AVA. This wine spent 17 months in French Oak. 507 cases were bottled and it retails for $26.

Plum, blueberry and a hint of strawberry dominate the nose of this wine. The first sip showed notes of black pepper and kirsch liqueur through to the mid-palate. Blackberry and eucalyptus notes come out on the finish which also reveals and undercurrent of cedar and vanilla notes. This wine is well balanced with a terrific acidity. This is a medium bodied but full flavored Petite Sirah with lighter and brighter fruit than the average. I had this with spice rubbed roast chicken cooked in my rotisserie and it matched up nicely. It will however match up with a wide array of foods and won't need to

While the Lucas & Lewellen Petite Sirah is enjoyable now it seems like it should get better and more complex with some additional time in the bottle. A couple of years or so should more than do the trick. It's balanced enough to last quite a bit longer than that too.

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Lost Angel - 2006 Petite Sirah

The 12 Days of Petite Sirah travels back to EOS Estate Winery today. After having looked at two previous selections from them this third on is under their Lost Angel label. The wines under this label seem to be crafted with a different approach and intent than those under the flagship EOS name.Lost Angel PS The 2006 Lost Angel Petite Sirah was aged for 12 months in Neutral oak. Though it has a broader Central Coast appellation listed on the label it's composed of 100% Paso Robles fruit. It's also 100% Petite Sirah and the suggested retail price is $11.

Fresh, spring like wild strawberries on the nose lead things off for the Lost Angel Petite Sirah. A little bit of tartness comes out when first sipping this wine, though that blows off pretty quickly. Once it opens up sweet, berry fruit is present throughout. This Petite Sirah is very fruit forward and reminds me a lot of zinfandel in its flavor profile. The finish features some earthiness and mushroom notes as well as a touch of spice. Within the world of Petite Sirah this leans towards the lighter bodied side of things. I had this wine with a wild mushroom and Pecorino Romano pizza and found that to be an excellent match.

The 2006 Lost Angel Petite Sirah is made to drink now. For a suggested retail of $11.99 this is a wine you can open any night of the week that you're mood for something with bright, upfront and appealing fruit character. This offering is very different than the EOS Petite's I looked at earlier in the 12 Days of Petie Sirah. Those were more serious, age worthy wines. The Lost Angel strikes me more as a fun wine, made for casual enjoyment. 

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Miner Family Vineyards - 2004 Petite Sirah

Miner Family Vineyards from the Napa Valley is the next stop during the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. Whole they make a wide array of wines I tend to think of their Cabernet Sauvignons and Proprietary Blend The Oracle first when thinking of them. Their tasting room on the Silverado Trail is one of the Miner Petite Sirahfew that I hit on every trip I make to Napa. So when I was planning 12 Days of Petite Sirah they were one of the first wineries that came to mind. The Miner Family Vineyards 2004 Petite Sirah is 100% varietal and all Napa fruit. The vineyard source is in northern Napa, near Calistoga. 60% of the wine spent 20 months in new French oak. Production was limited to 460 cases, one of Miner's smallest. The suggested retail price is $40.

This wine is a classically colored, tooth staining deep purple in color. Fresh wild berry, vanilla and allspice fill the nose of this wine. Tons of blackberry, spice and chocolaty mocha notes will the big, round and rich mid-palate of this wine. The finish features lingering spice notes, one of this wines hallmarks, subtle cedar and an emerging earthiness. Pair this wine with a steak or other grilled meats for an excellent match.

The Miner 2004 Petite Sirah needed time to breathe. Decanting is certainly recommended if drinking this wine now. Firm tannins, solid acid and good structure all lead me to believe this will be a long lived Petite Sirah if you have patience to lay it down. Balance and elegance are the hallmarks of most of the Miner Family wines I've experienced over the years. This Petite Sirah is no exception. Well worth it's $40 price tag in my opinion.

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Clos LaChance - 2005 Petite Sirah

About a month ago I took a look at several releases from Clos LaChance in San Martin California. Across the board I really enjoyed their wines and found them to be well made. So naturally I wanted to include them in the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. They make a diverse portfolio of offerings across several tiers. The Petite Sirah I'm looking at is from their Estate Series.Clos La Chance PS The 2005 Clos LaChance Petite Sirah is 100% varietal. Some of the wine (12%) spent 18 months in new French oak with another 12% in new American oak. Just 385 cases of this wine were produced. The suggested retail price is $35.

For anyone who has seen the movie Spinal Tap they no doubt recall that the cover of their album was black. In fact they decided it was so black that it could be "none more black." Well I'm here to report that the Clos LaChance 2005 Petite Sirah could be none more purple. It could probably inspire Purple Haze and Purple Rain with it's incredible color. Aromas of wild berry and violets are very prominent. Jammy blackberry leads the way and continues through with a big round, opulent mid-palate. The finish features dark chocolate, spice and a chicory note along with an undercurrent of earthiness. Match this one up with full flavored foods.

The Clos LaChance Petite Sirah has firm, persistent tannins. It strikes me that this wine is really a baby right now. At the moment it features a fruity, jammy appeal. Time in the bottle will settle that fruit down a bit, bring out the earthiness and simply serve this one well as it comes together even more. If you like Petite Sirah, whether you drink this selection today or cellar it for a decade, you'll be rewarded. As with each of the other Clos La Chance wines I looked at, the Petite Sirah is a well crafted wine made to enjoy with a meal.

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Silkwood Wines - 2004 Petite Sirah

Silkwood Wines is the next producer I'm looking at for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. While they are based in Modesto California today, their roots go back to 1979 and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. Silkwood Wines PSLocation isn't the only thing that's change for Silkwood though. They started out making wine from mainly purchased grapes. Today the wines they make are from their own Estate Vineyards in Stanislaus County. To achieve the quality they're striving for they drop up to 24% of the fruit at harvest. This after having already dropped fruit earlier in the growing cycle. Currently they stand at about 10,000 cases a year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah and a few blends. The wine labels are actually printed on velvet, something they have trademarked. The 2004 Silkwood WInes Petite Sirah was aged using a variety of different toasted oak inserts aimed at achieving their desired flavor profile. The suggested retail price for this wine is $39.

Smooth is the most appropriate word to describe the Silkwood Petite Sirah. In fact It's safe to say this wine is so smooth that it might trick you into not decanting it. That would actually be a mistake. While this wine has no rough edges, even the moment you pop the cork, decanting allows it to really sing. Once it breathes this Petite's nose is full of wild, dark berry fruit underscored by cedar and mocha notes. The big, rich, mouth filling mid-palate is dominated by cherry liqueur and subtle licorice notes. The finish has light but steady spice notes, pomegranate and a touch of espresso bean at the tail end. This is a big wine that will drink well on it's own or paired with a fairly wide array of cuisine.

The Silkwood Wines Petite Sirah is on of the most unique examples of this varietal I've had in recent memory. It's smoothness and immediate drink-ability seems to belie it's age. I'd be very curious to see what the wine does over time and how long it drinks well. In any case, it drinks quite well right now.

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Next: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues!!

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Twisted Oak Winery - 2005 Petite Sirah

The next wine up for consideration during the 12 Days of Petite Sirah is from Twisted Oak Winery in the Sierra Foothills. In addition to focusing on making hand crafted wines, the folks at Twisted Oak Winery are clearly out to simultaneously have a good time while they're at it. One example of this, is the fact that in addition to wine, their website offers rubber chickens. Twisted Oak PSThe Twisted Oak 2005 Petite Sirah is 100% varietal. All of the fruit was sourced from Frog's Tooth Vineyard in Calaveras County. 25% of the wine spent time in new American oak, with the balance in a combination of one year, two year and neutral oak. The suggested retail price for this wine is $24.

The nose of this Petite Sirah is dominated by plum and underscored by subtler baker's spice and cedar notes. The flavors from the first sip on are of deep, dark, brooding fruit. Blueberry is the focal point of the mid-palate. Once this wine opens up (decanting is recommended) it's a smooth, silky Petite Sirah with medium tannins but no rough edges to speak of. Vanilla and white pepper dot the finish nicely. The fruit on this wine is pretty big and fairly bold, but not overwhelmingly so. There is also a nice balance to it. I had this with a Blue-Cheese Burger with caramelized onions and it matched up perfectly.

For $24 Twisted Oak Winery is offering a well made Petite Sirah, full of true varietal character. Checking out their web page is recommended as they offer low cost flat rate shipping on orders. In addition to that, their website is worth visiting for their obvious sense of humor too.

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Coming Up: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues!!

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Pedroncelli Winery -2005 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah

Pedroncelli Winery in Sonoma's Dry Creek is the next stop for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. I've had a lot of experience with their wines over the years. I vividly recall the first time I had a Pedroncelli. It was the mid 90's and the wine was their Mother Clone Zinfandel. Now as then, the Mother Clone represents a good value and lots of Dry Creek character in its price category. So deciding to include PedroncelliPedroncelli Winery in my look at Petite Sirah was an easy decision. The 2005  Petite Sirah is a very recent release. 85% of this offering is Petite Sirah with the balance being Zinfandel. This wine spent 23 months in American oak. Production was limited and the suggested retail price is $14.50.

The 2005 Pedroncelli Petite Sirah is a young wine right now. Decanting this selection is strongly recommended. A couple of hours will do wonders to help this wine open up. Once it's had a chance to breathe you'll find classic Dry Creek aromas of earth and rich, dark berry fruit. From the first sip, the Zinfandel that's blended in makes it's presence known by way of black pepper notes that linger through this wines palate. Dry, brambly, earthy berry fruit dominates the mid-palate of this wine. Dried blueberries, fig and spice notes make up the fairly lengthy finish. This wine is full of fruit, but balanced by a terrific acidity. As with the other Pedroncelli Wines I've had over the years, this Petite Sirah was built to accompany food.

When this wine had been open for a full 24 hours, I went back to see how it was holding up. Not only had it not lost a thing, it's safe to say it had improved in that time span. Layers of complexity that were not evident the day before came to the forefront.

Pedroncelli Winery suggests a 15 year drinking window for this wine. I actually think that might be a conservative estimate. This wine seems to have the structure and stuffing to go 20 years. For a retail price of $14.50, this one is a steal. 80 plus years into their existence as a winery Pedroncelli continues to pump out well made, food friendly wines at reasonable prices.


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Next: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues!!

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3 Petite Sirah's From Trinitas Cellars

Napa Valley's Trinitas Cellars is the next stop as the 12 Days of Petite Sirah continues. Their winery and thus their wines are all about a lifestyle. Sun, Soil and Humanity are the 3 ingredients they point to in their quest for the perfect wines. Tim & Steph Busch founded Trinitas Cellars in 2000 so it's still a relatively new endeavor. They make a wide array of different wines aside from the Petite Sirah's I'm covering today. Trinitas PSThe three wines I'm looking at actually represent 2 different appellations. One is the 2004 Russian River Valley Petite Sirah. The other two are both the 2004 and 2005 Old Vine Petite Sirah.

The 2004 Russian River Petite Sirah spent times in both neutral and new oak. Suggested retail price for the Russian River Petite is $27.

This wine opens with a nose of big blueberry notes underscored by vanilla. This wine evolved very quickly in the glass and didn't require decanting. Jammy berry fruit comes out and carries through to the finish accompanied by lots of spice notes. White pepper, nutmeg and more vanilla amongst those spices. Within the world of Petite Sirah's this tends towards medium bodied. It's a layered, complex offering with it's cool Russian River credentials shining through. This wine will stand up to bigger foods but is adaptable enough to match up with a fairly wide array of things.

The Trinitas 2004 Old Vine Lodi Petite Sirah was aged in oak for 14 months. 15% in new French oak, 15% new American oak and the balance in neutral oak. The suggested retail price for this wine is $22.

The 2004 Old Vine has an absolutely huge nose of chocolate covered blackberry fruit. The first couple of sips reveal the tartness often evident in Petite Sirah early on. This offering needs to be decanted for at least an hour at this point in it's lifespan to get full enjoyment out of it. After breathing for awhile this wines starts showing it's charms. It's a rich, full bodied wine with dusty, earthy notes evident throughout. Cedar notes emerge at first along with jammy berry. The mid-palate has an absolute avalanche of mocha on it which leads into a long white pepper laden, spicy, earthy finish underscored by a cherry liqueur note. This wine has firm tannins and will match up with the boldest foods you can find.

The Trinitas 2005 Old Vine Lodi Petite Sirah was aged in oak for 14 months. 15% in new French oak, 15% new American oak and the balance in neutral oak. The suggested retail price for this wine is $22.

The first thing that becomes apparent about the Trinitas 2005 Old Vine Lodi Petite Sirah is that it's more immediately accessible than the 2004. Decanting this wine is also recommended but it unleashes it's layers and charms a lot more easily than the 2004. Dark berry fruit comes out in droves from the nose through the mid-palate. At that point a strong kirsch liquer note becomes the dominate characteristic. It's accompanied by nutmeg spice note that carry through the finish which has more sweet berry fruit that lingers nicely for an above average finish. As with the 2004 Old Vine this wine will match up with very big and bolds foods.

These three Petite Sirah's are impressive for a variety of reasons. The 2004 Russian River offering is an immediately appealing wine that opens up quickly and offers good complexity. It should age well for several years but I'd expect it to be the shortest lived of the three. The two Old Vine selections have as many differences as what they have in common. The 2005 again offers immediate pleasure our of the bottled. It does evolve and become more complex, changing several times over the course of an evening. It should have a decade of positive evolution ahead of it, assuming proper storage. The 2004 Old Vine is for me the most impressive of the trio. Starting out as the most reticent of them once it fully opens up it simply has more layers and complexities than the other two. While it's drinkng well now I expect it do improve dramatically in the next few years and beyond. There's every reason to think this wine has at least 15 years of life ahead of it. Kudos to Trinitas Cellars for offering several distinct, well crafted, food friendly Petite Sirah's.

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12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues!! 10 More Petite's To Go!!

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Boeger Winery - 2005 Reserve Petite Sirah

El Dorado County California is where the next selection for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah originated. Boeger Winery has a 35 history. They have 55 acres under vine themselves and manage or a lease a considerable amount of additional acreage. All told they grow over 30 different varietals amongst their many vineyard Boegerparcels. The Boeger Winery 2005 Reserve Petite Sirah spent 15 months aging in American oak from various sources. Less than 500 cases were produced and the suggested retail price is $30.

This reserve Petite Sirah opens with a  nose of berries, strong hints of licorice and a touch of eucalyptus underscoring both of those. From the very first sip this wine features dark, brooding fruit. Black currant comes to mind followed on the mid-palate by more licorice characteristics along with fleshy blackberry and vanilla bean notes. This wine is rich and full flavored but closer to medium-bodied, at least when compared to other Petite Sirah's. As with a couple of the other selections I'be looked at this week this Petite will match a wide selection of food. Red sauce based dishes, grilled burgers and meatloaf are just a couple of options that come to mind.

The Boeger Petite Sirah drinks well immediately out of the bottle. Decanting allows it to open up a bit more but here's an offering that is essentially ready to go when you pop the cork. This wine does have soft tannins and enough structure to suggest you can lay it down for short term aging. I'd expect it to drink well until about 2012.

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Judd's Hill - 2004 Old Vine Petite Sirah

Judd's Hill Winery in Napa is the next stop for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. While the winery itself is located on the Silverado Trail in Napa, the fruit for this particular selection is from Lodi. Art Finklestein, who along with his wife Bunnie founded Judd's Hill, had previously founded, built up and eventually sold Whitehall Lane Winery. So in a sense the history of Judd's Hill goes back even further than the time this particular winery has been in existence. At this point it's become a 2 generation family business with their Judd's HillSon Judd and his wife Holly also part of the team. The focus at Judd's Hill is small lots of premium wines that are handpicked and crafted with a personal touch. The 2004 Judd's Hill Old Vine Petite Sirah was sourced from two specific vineyard sources. 88% of the wine is Petite Sirah from the Cranston Brothers Vineyard in Lodi. The balance is Syrah from Juliana Vineyard in the Pope Valley. The wine spent 20 months in medium toasted French oak. A mere 202 cases of this wine were produced and it's suggested retail price is $30.

When I Poured the 2004 Judd's Hill Petite Sirah into a glass the first thing that become apparent is that this wine is as black as night. Ripe, fleshy blackberry aromas abound in the nose with a little touch of vanilla apparent as well. At first blush the wine shows more than a little bit of tartness. Decanting for at least an hour is recommended.  Once it's had a chance to breathe the Judd's Hill Petite Sirah is rich and full bodied. Berry notes present up front followed by strong mocha characteristics towards the back of the mid-palate and on through the finish. That finish which is above average in length has hints of clove, star anise and a hint of chicory. Throughout the wine a slight touch of sweet fruit is persistent, though it's not nearly as obvious as most of the characteristics which are best described as dark and brooding. A wine this rich and intense deserves an equally rich meal to go along with it. Braised Lamb Shanks would work as would dishes rich in wild, earthy mushrooms.

With only 202 cases, this is the kind of wine to not only enjoy as you drink it, but to cherish the opportunity to have had it. Once it really opened up, soft, gentle tannins were still present but no rough edges at all. This Petite Sirah is drinking well now and should also reward cellaring.

Check out PS I love You, the Advocacy Group dedicated to this great varietal.

Coming Up: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues, Over a dozen Petite's to go.

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Bogle Vineyards - 2005 Petite Sirah

There are certain wines that have become standards of a varietal. Often they have been around a long time and have earned a reputation of quality within their price category. So, when I embarked on this mission that I'm calling the 12 Days of Petite Sirah, there were a couple I knew off the bat I needed Bogle PSto cover. Wines that have become ubiquitous within the Petite Sirah realm. One of those is the Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah. The Bogle family first planted vines in Clarksburg California in 1968. Today they farm over 1,200 acres of vineyards. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and their proprietary blend called "Phantom" are the first wines that come to mind when I think of Bogle Vineyards.

The 2005 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah has moderate alcohol at 13.5%. Fruit was sourced from both Clarksburg and Lodi. This wine spent 12 months in American oak and it's finished with a natural cork enclosure. The suggested retail price is $11.

This wine opens with a full nose of candied blueberry, plum and vanilla notes. Right out of the bottle this wine is fairly smooth and accessible. Throughout the palate, both black and white pepper notes feature prominently. Sweet wild berry fruit come out in the mid palate and hangs through the finish which is fairly long and persistent. Within the world of Petite Sirah this is a medium bodied offering, full of character and well balanced. This will pair nicely with a wide array of foods. Beef Stew, Mushroom Ragout and Grilled Chops are just a few of the things that come to mind.

The Bogle Vineyards 2005 Petite Sirah is a classic example of this varietal. It's also a good entry point for those who may be unfamiliar with Petite Sirah but want to give it a try.

Light but persistent tannins suggest this wine will age gracefully for a few years, gaining complexity and additional earthiness as the current fruitiness subsides a bit. To that point I tasted this wine again after it had been open for a full 24 hours. I found it to be just as charming and appealing, having lost none of the characteristics that made it so enjoyable to drink the first night. The fruit had mellowed ever so slightly and the nuances had emerged.

While this wine retails for $11, it's widely available for closer to $9. At that price point, this wine offers a lot drinking pleasure and more than a sufficient amount of Petite Sirah character. Some 30 years after their first vintage of Petite Sirah, Bogle Vineyards represents one of the benchmark wines in it's price category, year after year.

Check out PS I love You, the Advocacy Group dedicated to this great varietal.

Coming Up: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues, 15 wines to go.

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Jewel Collection - 2005 Petite Sirah

The 12 Days of Petite Sirah continues. Another selection made from Lodi fruit is up to bat. This one is from the Jewel Collection. The only previous wine of theirs I'd had was Viognier. I'd enjoyed Jewel Collection PSthat on several occasions and was thus looking forward to seeing what they could do with Petite Sirah. The Jewel Collection 2005 Petite Sirah is 100% varietal and all Lodi Fruit. Alcohol is a moderate 13.5% and the suggested retail price on this wine is $10. This wine is finished with a synthetic cork closure.

Dried blueberry and light plum notes come out in the nose. The first sip also reveals blueberry characteristics along with some light spice notes. Those flavors are accompanied by quite a bit of tartness. This isn't unusual for a Petite Sirah right out of the bottle. Decanting often helps the tartness blow off. In this case it never really did. The initial nose and tastes stayed but the palate of this wine drops off very quickly. The finish is well below average.

Over an evening this wine was retasted quite a few times. Instead of it opening up and becoming more expressive any flavor profile it had dissipated. The only thing that really remained was that initial tartness. Wines can have a good soft lingering tartness that adds to it's appeal at times. That's not the case with the Jewel Collection 2005 Petite Sirah. The lingering tartness this wine displays is unfortunate and unappealing. It also does not offer much in the way of the characteristics normally associated with Petite Sirah.

Even for a suggested retail price of $10 I can not recommend this wine. There are other Petite Sirah's in this price range that surpass it by leaps and bounds. I'll post notes on a few of them as my Petite Sirah coverage continues

Check out PS I love You, the Advocacy Group dedicated to this great varietal.

Up Next: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues, Please Stay Tuned.

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Two Petite Sirah's from EOS Estate Winery

When putting together the wines for 12 Days of Petite Sirah, I knew I'd want to include several selections from Paso Robles. I've long been a fan of this area. Quite a few wineries have been producing distinct offerings from Paso for many years now. Wine aficionados and now consumers in general seem to be getting the message about the wines coming out of this Central California Wine Appellation. EOS Estate Winery produces several different Petite Sirah's. I'll be looking at two of them today and then a third later on during the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. EOS has over 700 acres under EOS Estate PSvine. They're a family owned winery whose stated mission is to produce fruity, food friendly wines that are indicative of their Paso Robles origin. First up is the EOS 2005 Estate Petite Sirah. This selection is 100% Petite Sirah. 88% was it aged for 18 months in neutral oak, 9% of it in two year old Hungarian oak and the balance (3%) in 0ne year old French oak. The fruit was sourced from their Brothers Ranch vineyard. The suggested retail price for this wine is $18.

This wine opens with an absolutely immense nose of chocolate covered blueberries. The first sip reveals that as with the majority of Petite Sirah's this wines need a solid decanting. An hour will benefit it greatly, 2 hours even more so if you have the time. Once it opens up though, rich jammy fruit is immediately evident.  Vanilla bean and white pepper emerge on the mid-palate and carry through the finish, which also shows some earthiness. I enjoyed this wine with a grilled burger and pasta salad for the first meal of the season out on my deck. With moderate alcohol (13.5%) and present but not overpowering tannins this one goes down easy and will match a wide array of foods.

The 2005 EOS Estate Petite Sirah is rich with flavor but it's not a heavy wine. That makes it a good selection as a summer red that won't bog you down. Retailing at $18 and commonly available for a few dollars less than that (check out this is a good value in well crafted, approachable Petite Sirah. Laying a couple down won't hurt either. A few years in the cellar will bring out some earthiness and allow the wine to show a subtler side.

The second wine today is the EOS Estate Reserve Petite Sirah. It's also from the 2005 vintage. All the fruit from this one came from a specific block of the same Brother Ranch Vineyard the previous wine was sourced from. In addition to more specific fruit selection oak treatment on this wine was quite different as well. 27.6% of the juice spent 23 months in new French oak, 18.9% in new American oak, 18.9% in new Hungarian oak and the remainder in on year old Hungarian oak (0.8%), two year old EOS Reserve PSAmerican oak (7.9%) and neutral oak (3%). The suggested retail price for this selection is $25.

The 2005 Reserve open with a nose of candied plum that's underscored by earthiness and a subtle smokiness. As with the other selection I definitely recommend decanting this wine to get the most out of it. After it opens up, rich jammy fruit in the form of blackberry, dark cherry and plum emerge and are mouth filling. This wine has a spiciness and earthiness that emerge prominently in the rich, round, slightly sweet  mid-palate. All these characteristics ride out to the finish. Those elements provide endearing layers of complexity to this wine. Sausage & Peppers, Lamb Chops and other rich foods will be the best matches for this Petite Sirah.

Firmer tannins and a more structured wine suggest the reserve has quite a few years of evolution ahead of it. It's appealing now but I'd be very curious to see how it's evolved in 5 or 10 years.

Both Petite Sirah's from EOS Estate Winery are well balanced with good acid. While neither wine will break the bank cost wise the 2005 Estate is a candidate for everyday drinking. The reserve is a very good value in its price category, especially when it's age worthiness is added to the mix.

Check out PS I love You, the Advocacy Group dedicated to this great varietal.

More than 15 Petite Sirah Reviews Still to come as the 12 Days of Petite Sirah continues!

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