Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tasting Report: Petite Sirah & Blends

Petite sirah is one of my go-to wines for this time of year, especially when I’m entertaining or hosting casual wine drinkers. Nerds and newbs alike love petite sirah’s chewy texture, the bold dark fruit, the earthy and peppery notes. It’s no wonder wine writers love talking about pairing petite sirah and summer grill-outs. Serve me a petite sirah with anything that bleeds and was cooked over fire, and odds are I’ll be happy.  

All these petite sirahs were received as trade samples and tasted blind.

2009 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Conservancy - California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley ($15)
Gobs of blackberries on the nose, red licorice, purple Gushers candy, along with mocha and toasted coconut. Juicy and full of red and black berry fruit, this wine is jammy and thick. High alcohol is evident over the creamy-smooth tannins. Inky, but not much in the way of secondary flavors. (85 points)

2010 Concannon Vineyard Conservancy Crimson & Clover - California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley ($15)
Aromas of purple taffy, raspberry jam, rose petals and toast. Soft tannins, medium acid, this wine takes a jammy, easy-drinking approach with flavors of raspberry, cherry, vanilla, mocha and toasted oak. 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel. (86 points)

2010 Mettler Family Wines Petite Sirah - California, Central Valley, Lodi ($25)
Almost like paint on the nose, with these deep, brooding aromas of blackberry, plum and charcoal, along with notes of vanilla and toast. The tannins are firm but rounded, and the wine is really inky, like gobs of ink and crushed berries. The acid is a bit low for my palate, but the blackberry and plum fruit is beautifully concentrated and sweet. The charcoal note really comes into play on the palate, and the wine finishes with notes of coffee and caramel. A wine with no shame, but it’s got the depth and complexity to pull it off. This Petite Sirah includes 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, aged 21 months in French oak. (88 points)

2010 Fields Family Wines Petite Sirah Estate - California, Central Valley, Lodi ($28)
A really exciting petite sirah with lots of unique characteristics. Lots of red and black cherries on the nose, with green coffee and a smell that reminds me of a greenhouse full of flowers. On the palate, chewy tannins provide structure for the saucy cherry and blackberry fruit. There’s a very distinct flavor of sweet teryaki marinade, and I get a real kick out of it. Earthy and peppery notes linger onto the finish. (89 points)

2011 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Selected Vineyards - California, Central Coast ($10)
Medium purple color. Aromas of plum cake, caramel and green peppercorns. The palate shows fine tannins and juicy raspberry and plum fruit. Creamy and jammy with a solid dose of oak. There’s bitterness to this wine, like the skins and pips of the berries or something, and the finish is short. For $10, you can’t really expect much more. (80 points)

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