DRINK – An audacious wine, Petite Sirah

According to Dictionary.com, audacious means extremely bold or daring, recklessly brave or fearless. I think that’s a great way to describe Petite Sirah. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s beautiful, and yes, adacious. The PS grape does well in many growing regions in California: Mendocino County, Lodi, Paso Robles and of course, Livermore Valley. Each region produces a slightly different style. Some have more bright cherry fruit, others more complexity and tannins.

PS I Love You is the name for an annual gathering of Petite Sirah winemakers, growers and groupies. Don’t know Petite Sirah? No, it’s not a smaller variety of the Syrah grape; it’s its own varietal. Often used in blended red wines. But, more and more wineries are making this single variety. In 1975 there were roughly 20 producers. By 2009 that number has grown to 700+.
A big question at the Petite Sirah symposium, how mainstream can Petite Sirah get?

The PS symposium was held at Concannon Vineyard in Livermore Valley. Concannon has a rich history in producing Petite Sirah, having grown and made the first Petite Sirah in America.  At the PS tasting, they presented four of their bottlings. My favorites were the 2007 Nina’s Cuvee which is elegant; the 2004 Heritage was one of the biggest PS wines at the tasting.

Here are some other producers to look for!

Aver Family Vineyards 2007 Blessings PS. Also worth checking out are Aver’s Rhone wines. The winery is in the Santa Clara Valley.

Bogle Vineyards makes a wonderful Rose´of Petite Sirah, from the Clarksburg appellation. It’s available only at their tasting room in Clarksburg, CA, but you can easily find Bogle’s Petite Sirah. Bogle’s prices are nice, all under $15.

Cinnabar Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains sources their Petite Sirah grapes from Clarksburg to produce a wonderful 2007 PS. You can try it at the winery’s tasting room in downtown Saratoga.

Esoterica by Kent Rasmussen Winery – from St. Helena, the 2007 PS is a bold and smooth bottling.

Foppiano Vineyards in Sonoma Co. is well known for its powerful Petite Sirah, and the 2006 Estate doesn’t disappoint.

The 2006 Langtry Estate Petite Sirah, Serpentine Meadow Vineyard made me go wow! The appellation is Guenoc Valley, which is in California’s Lake County.

I really liked the 2008 Line Shack PS for it’s voluptuous mouth feel and nice finish, but I also love the story behind the label. Line Shack takes its name from the rundown “line shack” cabin on the property that was a gathering place for cowboys, but became Line Shack’s tasting room and barrel room.

Napa’s Quixote Winery makes a terrific PS and they were pouring the 2005 Petite Sirah, a rich and audacious wine.

The Crusher 2008, from Don Sebastiani & Sons is a full-bodied, fruit-forward PS and a great value — under $15.

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