Monday, January 18, 2010

29 PresentS

I'm now 29. And so is the wine I'm drinking tonight (at least rounding up) -- the 1981 Louis J. Foppiano 1981 Russian River Valley Petite Sirah Estate Bottled. According to a sticker on the bottle,it was a gold medal winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

I popped the cork at about 10 am to let it Audouze (highly recommended, IMO, for old PS), and I'm enjoying it right now, about 7 and a half hours later.

Not surPriSingly, this one is still alive. Certainly has one foot in the grave, but the other is well outside it.

Color -- starting to go tawny/brick -- thin 1/8" translucent rim, dark burnt purply orange, amazing depth of color for a 29 year old wine -- I still can't see my fingers when I tilt the wine glass except around the edges.

Nose -- some of the tawny port notes from oxidization (the cork broke), really complex bottle bouquet, some red fruits (cherry compote, raspberry, black cherries), and faint white flowers.

Palate -- mouthwatering acidity. Not a ton of fruit to speak of, and definitely old world. Tannins very fine, I'd call it silky but they're too rustic -- maybe velvet dust would be the best description.

After about half an hour in the glass, it really opens up. The red fruit comes out, perfectly balanced, aromatic, WOW. I would never guess that this wine was nearly 30.

Thanks, Louis!

In other news, and totally by coincidence, Foppiano '03 Reserve showed up as part of my samPleS today...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Israeli PS Update

For whatever reason, Daniel Rogov has tasted a few wines of interest to PSychos of late, and I'll excerpt his PoSts and notes.

Sea Horse, Munch, 2008 (Barrel Tasting): 100% Petite Syrah made from 35 year old vines. Almost inky black in color, firm and intense, almost inky black in color, a wine with muscles but that seems to know how to behave like a gentleman. Rich and deeply concentrated, opens with wild berry, and chocolate notes, goes on to reveal minerals, anise and sage, all on a gently peppery background. Finishes with the tannins rising together with persistent notes of espresso coffee. Best 2011-2017. Tentative Score 90-92. (Tasted 13 Jan 2010)

Chillag, Petite Sirah, 2006: From a vineyard in the Jerusalem Mountains at 750 meters above sea level, Petite Sirah as Petite Sirah should be. Oak-aged for 24 months, almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, dense and concentrated, opening with lavender and peppery notes, those yielding to chocolate and licorice and only then black cherry, blackberry, cassis and plum flavors. In the background look for tobacco and toasty oak and, on the long, chewy finish a note of espresso coffee. Unfiltered, so do not be surprised if you find a bit of sediment here, that doing no harm whatever to this muscular but oh-so-enchanting wine. Best 2011-2016. Score 92. (Tasted 15 Jan 2010)

Margalit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Reserve, 2008: Cabernet Sauvignon, as always blended with Margalit's "special" and remarkably concentrated Petite Syrah, this year 88% and 12% respectively. Intensely dark garnet, throwing purple, orange and green reflections, full-bodied and with spicy wood and still firm tannins just starting on the road to integration but showing fine balance and structure. On first attack traditional blackcurrant and blackberry fruits on a spicy background, the wine opening in the glass to reveal black cherries and then raspberries and espresso coffee. Nor is this the end for on the long, long finish tempting hints of black olives and saddle leather. Approachable by 2011 but best only from 2013-2025. Perhaps the best to date from Margalit and certainly one of the best wines ever produced in Israel. Score 95. (Tasted 11 Jan 2009)
Rogov's notes on Sea Horse
Rogov's notes on Chillag PS
Rogov's notes on Margalit

Friday, January 15, 2010


The first of my PSamPleS from the ProducerS is the Big House 2006 Prodigal Son. It's from PaSo Robles, clockes in at a relatively PSlender 13.5% ABV, and a pH of 3.75. It was released in October 2008, has a suggested retail price of 14.99 and comes with a screwtop. The Producer recommends pairing it with smokey/grilled/bbq meats.

On pour (into a Riedel Vinum Syrah glass), the color is an extremely dark ruby, with a thin translucent rim. It smells incredibly juicy. It's a little tight on pop and pour, but has lots of nice structure, and is medium-to-full bodied (i.e., light for a PS). The nose initially smells like Ocean-Spray Cran-Blueberry with a bit of clove and black pepper. The tannins are very fine and silty, the finish is about 25 seconds long. There's a bit of awkward bitterness on the transition from the midpalate to the finish, but I suspect that will alleviate with air and time, as it got less pronounced but didn't disappear.

As it opens up, the palate turns to candied black cherry and the tannins fade. Right now, it's all elbow-and-knees but I think it will improve with a few more years in the bottle. OK for the MSRP, but if you can find it for cheaper (and I'm sure you can) it becomes a pretty nice value. Not a bad way to show off the light-bodied side of PS, but I'm not really blown away.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


As 2009 (Ne Cede Malis) rolls over into 2010, there's a lot to look forward to.

Jo Diaz droPS some tantalizing hints at what's in store for us next year -- not just for D&D 2010, which is just 7 weeks from tomorrow! -- but for the PSymPoSium... and no, folks -- I'm certainly not the keynote speaker! Being a PSycho (or a PSuperfan) I'm wildly underqualified for that sort of thing!

And I also have some reviews by other winos of my new (to me, at least) favorite PS wines from this PaSt year -- Fortress, Carlisle, and Edwards (Victor -- you guys seen any reviews of your wine?).

Following D&D, I'm looking forward to Vincent Arroyo Barrel Sample Day on Saturday and then hanging out with Fulton & Dink Mather at David Fulton on Fulton Lane Winemaker Breakfast on Sunday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This PoSt is to mark a very PSpecial event today -- the 40th birthday of themostrighteous, the first of my PadawanS. He is an outstanding friend, a PleaSure to spend time with, and a man who apPreciateS his wine and most especially his PS.

Here is to many, many, many more happy returns, hermano, filled with family, friends, and relaxation. May you enjoy your next 40 as much as the 2002 Vincent Arroyo Rattlesnake Acres that we shared :-). With all the tannins that you consume in your PS, I suspect that they'll PreServe you at least as well as they do our favorite libation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Port

Oh my gosh, this is a fantastic port. The first sip sets a lightly heated tone where the subsequent sips the alcohol was less pronounced as the palate was acclimated. 17% alcohol. The flavors of the petite sirah are deep and intense. I felt bad opening this so young, but it was my brother in law's and he is impetuous so who was I to say no? Dark fragrant berries and jam, white peppery spices, depth and intensity that made me call it "better than sex in a bottle." Rich and lucious, decadent yet elegant and refined. This is a hugely wonderful wine and has become far better than the barrel samples we tasted in March. 94-95 points.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


In this week's wine.woot comment thread, Larry Schaffer of Tercero, Fess Parker (which also contains Fortress, a PS I found out about at the PSymPoSium and loved -- I hope they make a PS port called Fortification), and Epiphany fame, uPdateS us on the state of Petite Sirah down south in resPonSe to my asking Andrew Murray about his PlanS to grow PS:
I'll pipe in about the potential for PS in our area . . .

There is not a lot planted as of now, but more coming on line. The best in our area is Jaffurs which comes from the Thompson Vineyard - a stellar wine year in and year out and one of the best in the state IMNO.

Epiphany, whom you may have heard of (-:, also produces a great one from Rodney's Vyd, 20 year old PS vines planted on Foxen Canyon Road at the winery. Year in and year out, a great wine . . . and the 07 is off the charts!!! [2005 vintage; 2006 vintage]

I got into the PS game myself, and produced a 100% PS from Rodneys in 07 that I'll release in the Spring and a 50%PS/50% Thompson Syrah blend I call The Climb which I am releasing now . . . exciting stuff!

We grafted some syrah over to Petite Sirah at our Camp 4 Vineyard, taking cuttings both from Rodneys (Palisades clone) and cuttings from the Rockpile AVA (!!!). I got some of the Rockpile fruit this year and all I can say is - WATCH OUT! I think that the climate at Camp 4 is pretty darn great for PS - let's give it a bit of time and see for sure!
I can't wait to try all the new PS that Larry's coming out with... maybe he'll even consider signing up for Dark and Delicious 2010...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So my good friends at Vincent Arroyo accidentally duplicated my standing order and sent me 2 cases instead of the one case that was 2 bottles of 2006 Winemaker's Reserve, 4 of 2007 Rattlesnake Acres PS, 2 of house PS, 2 of Sangiovese, and 2 of their Chard (yes, one of the few cali chards that I like).

Loving this winery and being a generally honest guy, I called them up and let them know. They initially were going to send a return shipping label (so eating about 45-50 in shipping charges), but I suggested that I instead share the bottles with local wine store owners and sommeliers (like Andrew from Lelabar and Christy at Frankly Wines) who might be interested in PurchaSing, as VA does not use distributors.

Here's hoping that I manage to spur more interest and PaSsion for PS! (or VA does, with me being the middleman).

I'm working with Jo Diaz to hopefully get VA to come to Dark and Delicious 2010. Wouldn't that be a treat?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Visit to Vincent Arroyo 3/3/09

Vincent Arroyo only sells his wine at at his winery. An engineer gone good, he makes some interesting and great wines. All wines estate grown. I went here on a trip in the Spring of 2009 to taste his Pietite Sirahs and also soample their other offerings.

  • 2008 Chardonnay out of the fermenting vat. Sold out of bottle chardonnay. Light and crisp, will be mixed with some oak aged chard later after clarification. Nice. $24, 85 points

  • 2006 Nameless. A Bordeaux blend. 70% CS, 17% M, 13% CF. Nice, needs time. $30. Can’t score this yet to do it justice. Maybe 88 points.

  • 2006 Entrada. Nice, needs time. 55% Syrah, 31% CS, 15% PS $65. Can’t score this yet to do it justice. Maybe 88 points. I liked the cheaper Nameless is a better drinker now, but this has potential.

  • 2006 Petite Sirah. Intense, tannic, beautiful. Complex flavors, drinkable but it could lie down. $32, 89 points.

  • 2006 Winemaker’s Reserve Petite Sirah barrel sample. Another year aged in barrel than the last, intense and better. Dark chocolate and tobacco. Deep berry flavors. $45, 91 points.

  • 2007 Rattlesnake Acres Petite Sirah barrel sample. 60 YO vines. Round, supple, fruit forward flavors. Beautiful! $50, 91 points.

  • 2007 Port barrel sample. Petite Sirah based. Spectacular. We had three samples of this! $22 375 ml, 92 points.

This was certainly a wonderful place to visit. They gave us a couple of bottles of wine as it was two of our party members' birthdays after ordering about $400-500 of their not yet bottled wines for shipment in the fall.

Reviewed by Steve Jones

2007 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah

I first encountered this wine in San Francisco. I was out doing consulting work and training in September 2009 for the City of San Francisco and picked up two bottles of McManis Family wines for my hotel room while there. One was the 2007 Petite Sirah, which blew the other one away (2006 Zinfandel). I’ve tried many of the McManis wines, but this is by far the best of the entire line. I did not write up any notes on it back then, but I did note to get some more of this. I picked up another bottle to share with family and friends this past week. Binny’s in Chicago had it for $9.99 a bottle, which is about as good a price as you will find on this.

I opened the wine and a rush of fresh fruit was evident just by popping the cork. I poured a small amount out and was immediate hit with a huge dark fruit and jam nose with some volatile alcohol. There were blackberries and other dark berries and a hunt of cedar, too. The color was a dark reddish purple. A quick sip gave me the same impressions. The flavors were verging on being a fruit bomb, but not quite. It was full and mouth-filling. I let it sit and breathe for awhile.

As I returned to the wine in about a half hour, the volatility was pretty much gone. The flavors were intense and full on the front and mid palates. The flavors lingered for a good long time in my mouth. As I drank this over the course of the next two hours I marveled that this was only a $10 wine. The fullness of the fruit and intensity of flavors belied its’ cost. There is an intensity rarely found in inexpensive wines that this wine had.

I love a good PS but have often been put off with the inexpensive ones. Guenocs’ PS at a similar price point is about the best I’d found prior to this one, but McManis is clearly head an shoulders over that; the Guenoc is not bad but this is very, very good. If I have to give this a score I would have to say it is at least an 88 point wine. I went back and bought a couple more bottles over the weekend. This is sure to become a “go to” every day sort of wine for me at this price. This is clearly one of the top QPR PS’ out there.

Reviewed by Steve Jones

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Thousand PardonS

Sorry for the lack of uPdateS. As I alluded to earlier, I just moved from Northern Virginia, where I've been living for 5 years, back to NYC, where I'll be starting a new job in 5 weeks.

So right now, I'm unpacking, trying to get my life (and stemware) in order, and generally catching up on all the things I haven't had the chance to do.

Expect more frequent updates in the coming weeks -- my backlog is pretty big.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I've updated and reorganized the links to the right. If you have or know of any links that I'm missing, PleaSe fill me in!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PSymPoSium RounduPS

Sorry for the lack of PoSting -- I'm in the process of moving from DC to NYC, so between that and finishing up work, I haven't yet had the time to transcribe all the awesomeness that was the PSymPoSium.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I can't really put into words how mindblowingly awesome the PSymPoSium was. [[Full disclosure -- I'm a member of PSILY, and received -- thanks to Jo Diaz and PSILY -- a partial travel/lodging stipend to assist me in coming to this conference from the east coast. I also got to attend the conference gratis]]

Not only were the two tastings (and the lunch!) out-of-this-world, but the information was fascinating and the people were fantastic as well.

I now have about 30 days' worth of content for the blog (and to the extent I exaggerate, it's not by much).

PSpecial Thanks to Jo Diaz for an amazing event and for Jim Concannon for hosting (and for everything else he's done for PS).

As for what else I have in PStore?

Well, tomorrow I'm off to Sevastapol to hang out with the inimitable Clark Smith (ironically from Westfield, NJ -- and yes, it's ironic because of the name of the adjacent town), who told me that he has "G-d's own Petite Sirah" in Barrels.

I'll leave you with this great bon mot from Clark, which demonstrates his clear PerSpective:
"Petite Sirah is, in my view, much better than Syrah."

Monday, August 3, 2009


I'm going to the Petite Sirah SymPoSium tomorrow, so I'm heading out tonight.

Between that and moving to NYC in two and a half weeks, it's been pretty crazy over here (even without work).

But in honor of the PSymPoSium, I leave you with one of Jo Diaz's great PoSts about my favorite winery, Vincent Arroyo.

Adobe Clayhouses: Not Just for HoPiS

(apologies for the strained pun title)

This week on Wine.woot is a three-pack from Clayhouse, featuring their 2006 Estate PS (from PaSo Robles). This wine, $25 MSRP, *WON* the 2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition, beating out the 2000 Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne ($139) by a nose.

That wine is available, along with the 2006 Adobe Road blend (58% Zinfandel, 17% Syrah, 15% Petite Sirah, 12% Malbec) and the 2005 Estate Cuvee (54% Syrah, 37% Grenache, and 9 percent PS), for $44.99 per trio, with $7 flat-rate shipping on your order of 1-3 bottles. Act now, because this surPriSe will be gone by 1am EDT on Thursday, if it doesn't sell out before that!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remote Tasting

Last Tuesday, my friend "themostrighteous" and I did a remote tasting of the 2005 Titus PS, drinking and sending notes to each other over gchat. Here's the transcript, with the extraneous bits of conversation and personal stuff removed:

Themostrighteous: yo

Loweeel: hermano!

10:27 PM Themostrighteous: bout to pour myself a glass...

Loweeel: just poured mine
have steak and spinach
candied blackberry
10:28 PM blueberry, boysenberry
little tiny bit of shoepolish :)

Themostrighteous: little bit?!?
10:29 PM it sits pretty but prominently on the nose

Loweeel: yeah

Themostrighteous: i love this nose...

Loweeel: understatement :)
oh, fucking lovely
we nailed the decant [2.5 hours]
a bit flabby on the finish
but the fruit is great
10:30 PM I think it's not all back together yet

Themostrighteous: yes
and yes
flabby & just a bit hot
but the fruit makes up for it

Loweeel: almost like a zin

Themostrighteous: nice all around

Loweeel: this one is adolescent
all elbows and knees
10:31 PM it will probably grow up to be hot but isn't there yet

maybe it will spur you to get a job
10:40 PM Loweeel: wow, the sip of this after the palak paneer was damn right
just cleansed it right out
10:41 PM Themostrighteous: i think i'm going to cry...
10:44 PM this Titus is growing on me
a lot
god i love PS

Loweeel: :)

Themostrighteous: yeah
i will always owe PS to you

Loweeel: it's ok

Themostrighteous: and i won't forget it

Loweeel: when you come visit me in nyc
I'll open up a scholium
10:45 PM my cellar is always open completely to you (other than my last villemaurine)
you're right -- this is getting better -- acidity is more in balance

10:47 PM Themostrighteous: wow
i'm planning on drinking the whole bottle tonight
so i plan on seeing it evolve!

Loweeel: you just can't say no to shoe polish

10:48 PM Themostrighteous: some folks can
i'm not one of them
time to pour glass number 2
one glass
10:49 PM and my tongue
is almost coated

Loweeel: yup
this tastes almost calistoga-y
I think they said their ps vineyards were near but not in calistoga
the shoe polish would confirm that

10:50 PM Themostrighteous: oh this is funny
i just popped over to w[ine].w[oot] for the first time in a week
saw the offering

Loweeel: oh man the nose is even better
Themostrighteous: and thought to myself
that is SO PALE
and then looked at my glass
10:51 PM that is SO DARK!

Loweeel: PS is amazing.

Themostrighteous: yeah nose is definitely dancing now

Loweeel: I can't wait for PSymPoSium

Themostrighteous: should be a blast man!

Loweeel: too bad you can't make it

Themostrighteous: c'est vrai
10:52 PM i'm saving my non-family travel dollars to visit you

Loweeel: are you having food w/ this?
Themostrighteous: no
ate earlier
wish i had a fat juicy steak with me though

11:00 PM Loweeel: getting more plummy

Themostrighteous: yeah
11:04 PM btw
i'm torn between smelling this wine
and drinking it

Loweeel: I know
nose is GREAT

Themostrighteous: the nose is getting to be that good
Loweeel: not '02 rattlesnake great
but not too far away
11:05 PM that's still my best wine ever :)
that one was even crazier on the palate than on the nose
remember our teeth?

Themostrighteous: black
11:06 PM we looked like monks from the dark ages
[wife] says hi
11:07 PM she was laughing at me about our “date”
she asked me if we were having phone sex
i told her that we were having PS

Loweeel: oh yeah, hot rattlesnake acres '02 action

Themostrighteous: so almost like having wine sex
call me a lush
11:08 PM but i'm pouring number 3
(and i'm using my huge ass vinum extreme too!)

Loweeel: i'm about halfway down the decanter
11:09 PM errr.... more
such a nice nose

Themostrighteous: i love the fact that when you pour yourself a glass of a good PS
the bubbles that form on top are almost as dark as the wine itself
11:10 PM only with PS
must be cuz i'm the dark skinned brooding type
what's your excuse?!?

Loweeel: haaha
my freckles are dark and brooding!

11:11 PM Themostrighteous: oooh
the mouth is starting to catch up to the nose
glycerin levels off the charts
end less flabby
more full
(prob could have decanted for an extra hour b4 starting)
11:12 PM black fruit really showing

Loweeel: very nice for $38!

Themostrighteous: no shit

11:13 PM Loweeel: oh yum

Loweeel: 11:24 PM black currant RIPPING MY FACE OFF

Themostrighteous: you are SO GV!!!

Loweeel: jersey, yo

Themostrighteous: YES!!!!
11:25 PM i will say this
to those who criticize PS

Loweeel: fuck em, more for us!

Themostrighteous: about being somewhat monodimensional

Loweeel: btw, I have a new everyday drinker champion
and you GOTTA try that shit

Themostrighteous: fire away

Loweeel: see blog :)
dr debs (good wine under $20) gave it 90 on ct

11:28 PM Themostrighteous: shite
it's been a while
you've been busy blogging
The Crusheer heh?

Loweeel: yup
GREAT stuff
really fantastic at that price
such great fruit
no phenolic shit like this
but $13!!!

11:29 PM Themostrighteous: just goes to show
you look at the stats
(high pH)
and you might not take a swig

Loweeel: not THAT high for ps

Themostrighteous: but if you do
you get surprised

Loweeel: yeah

Themostrighteous: just making a point that you can't always judge the book by its cover
11:30 PM wait...

11:31 PM Loweeel: last glass :-)

11:32 PM Themostrighteous: ah shit
not for sale in IL

Loweeel: I am happy to pick some up for you, give to octocat on sat

11:33 PM Themostrighteous: not sure when i'm going to see her next
what with her visiting her man in TN
and with the Chicago w.w. community MIA
just poured one more
but still have one left
you sped by me!

11:44 PM Themostrighteous: and i quote
"your teeth are gross!"

11:45 PM Loweeel: :-D

Themostrighteous: ah the sacrifices

11:47 PM Loweeel: :-D :-D

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crushing It!

No, this isn't about my buddy Gary Vaynerchuk's new book.

It's about this phenomenal PS I tried from the Sebastiani family wine conglomerate, THE CRUSHER, which my friend Sonadora received as a sample from the producer. And while its name denotes a grape PreSs, its connotations were accurate as well -- this was a very enjoyable PS, and one hell of a deal at MSRP of $13 (putting it in the Concannon-Bogle range).

Here are the PStats:
  • Vintage: 2008 (by far the youngest PS I've had -- I have to suspect that this used microox, given the relative softness of the tannins)
  • Released: 04/2009
  • Region: Clarksburg AVA
  • Alcohol: 13.5% ABV (low for a PS, especially from Clarksburg, which is where Bogle gets its PS Port grapes)
  • pH: 3.77 (a bit high for my taste for PS)
  • TA: 5.8 g/L
  • 8400 cases produced
On opening, the nose was GREAT -- blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, dark ripe plums, and hints of dill and mint. On the palate, those flavors are joined by cassis, hints of cocoa and tar. You can barely taste the oak in this wine, which is a good thing, as it allows all the delicious fruit to show.

The wine is a bit flabby on the attack; the acid doesn't really start to appear until the midpalate or really take hold until the finish, and the tannins are not immediately evident (again, I suspect heavy microox), but do coat the mouth nicely upon swishing. The finish is pretty lengthy most of the time (but it comes and goes) and has great pure fruit that lingers in the mouth.

We PoliShed off this bottle pretty quickly -- which indicates that it's more medium than full-bodied (i.e., light for a PS), and did not decant. This is a tamed PS. The uPSide of that is that you actually don't need to pair this one with the biggest, gamiest, hunk of meat you can find. You (i.e., people are aren't tanninophilic like I am) can even have this by itself, or just with crackers and cheese. On the other hand, I would not age this for more than a few years -- it doesn't have the stuffing for it.

The extraction is fantastic, especially given the relatively light body -- it borders on getting fake, but does not go over the top. This is a great value, and a fantastic PS to introduce newbies and tanninophobes to the PSychos' Path. I highly recommend seeking out this evening "PSipper" from the well-regarded Sebastiani family.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"PaSsionate" requires PS

Richard Auffrey, aka "The PaSsionate Foodie" tries 6 different PS wines with his friends! Click on over for the full notes and pictures

The wines were:
  • 2006 Michael-David Petite Petit (Lodi; 85% PS, 15% PV) -- "I was very pleasantly surprised that this wine was so delicious."
  • 2005 Michael-David Earthquake PS (Lodi) -- not a fan, a bit too medicinal and eucalyptusy for him
  • 2005 Stonehedge Reserve PS Special Vineyard Select (California) -- also too strong and eucalyptusy for him
  • 2005 Stonehedge PS Terroir Select (Mendocino) -- "It was a very big and bold wine, with a complex melange of flavors. . . . The tannins were prominent so this is very much a food wine. It had a long, satisfying finish . . . . [T]ypical Petite Sirah. . . . an appealing model for that grape."
  • 2005 Lava Cap Granite Hill PS Reserve (El Dorado) -- "another big wine with intense flavors. . . . tannins a bit more pronounced [than Terroir Select] . . . almost a bit sweet, which turned off some of my friends but which I enjoyed"
  • 2006 Victor Hugo PS (PaSo Robles) --"very smooth . . . lengthy and PleaSing finish . . . good value "
Richard's conclusion:
Overall, I found some impressive Petite Sirahs, enough to make me seek out more of them to taste. If you have never tried this grape, you should do so. Even if you think you know Petite Sirah, you might benefit from trying different Petite Sirah wines as you might be surprised by what you find.
The one note I would offer is that I don't know how long Richard decanted his wines, if at all, or even if he let them breathe in bottle. Because the two "biggest" wines were the ones that he liked the least, I suspect that he just popped and poured. The more structured, larger PS will benefit even more from air, so I'd urge Richard to give those two another try after a 3-4 hour decant. I bet it will make quite a difference. I didn't particularly care for the one stonehedge I had, but I wasn't taking formal notes on it. I do remember that the Earthquake benefited enormously from decanting -- the tannins appeared as if by magic.

Friday, July 10, 2009


My good friend Sonadora tries the Seven Artisans PS. Sadly, she didn't wait for me. It's ok, though -- I get to raid her cellar on PSaturday :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Gregory Dal Piaz at Snooth had some tasting notes and recommendations for PS a few months ago.

Correctly describing it as "California's Unsung Hero", he offered notes and reviews for 4 grouPS -- Budget, PaSo Robles, Lodi, and Napa, his favorite being the Mettler 2005 that I enjoyed about 6 months PreviouSly.

He also offered some of those for sale, along with others (and more tasting notes) in an accompanying article.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More RounduPS

A nice article on one of my favorite surPriSes from PSILY 2009, Miro Cellars PS.

A review of some of Judd's Hill's wines, including their PS.

The $25 2006 Clayhouse PaSo Robles PS beats the $139 Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne and wins best wine in a blind tasting.

Jo Diaz queried the PSILY members to find out how they typically do in competitions, and it's pretty imPreSsive.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Perfectly Satisfying

So much is going on outside of my wine life that I don't even know where to start. After a long night at work, I wanted something simple, refreshing, and easy.

I got a bottle of the Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 "Petite Zin" Rose (Sonoma County) as a sample from Dry Creek Vineyard's wine club. I requested a bottle from Kim Stare Wallace after seeing it on their website, where it retails for $18. While perhaPS above the median price for a rose, this one is worth the price; it is distinctive and offers flavors that other roses don't.

This wine is 80% Zin, but the 20% PS really PuncheS above its weight. The grapes are from Sonoma County, and it's 13.9% ABV. It was harvested on 9/11/2008, and fermented for 30 days at 52 degrees Fahrenheit, then aged 2 months in French oak. The wine is classified as Dry, and has a pH of 3.57 (I'm not sure where it fits in dry roses, but it's a pretty typical pH for a "dry red" that's not spoofulated) and a TA of 0.67 (no units given). 384 cases were made, and Dry Creek Vineyard says that it can age 3-5 years (which, again, probably derives from the PS)

It's rounder and fuller-bodied than many roses. The color is dark -- even darker than the picture. It's very dark for a rose, just a few shades lighter than some beaujolais and pinot. Again, credit the PS.

Aged 2 months in French Oak, it reveals some creamyness and spice, underlying the dark fruits that PS is known for. It's very refreshing to find pepper and blackberries, and black cherries in a rose -- most of the ones I've had, regardless of varietal or blend, seem to stop at cherry limeade. This one goes darker, and deliciously so, but has that lime-like tingle lingering on the tongue and the finish.

This would pair nicely with a variety of dishes, including salmon, PeSto-based PaStas, and chicken dishes without too many strong flavors -- though southwestern would be a great pairing.

I haven't had too many PS roses (the Bella Vista/Cilurzo in April was sweeter than I expected, and I have a 2005 "off-label" from David Fulton, my "unicorn", that I'm looking forward to trying this month; Bogle apparently makes one from time to time, but I haven't been able to try it), but this is highly, highly recommended for all PS fans.

As I've come to expect from their wines in general, Dry Creek Vineyard's Petite Zin is a very well-crafted, well-balanced wine that nevertheless PreSents a nice value and unusual flavors and tasting notes. Seek this one out if you have a chance -- a rose this full-bodied is quite an experience, and the creamy key lime pie finish is really refreshing after a long, hot, humid, day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ExPloSive growth in the Pacific northweSt

It's not just Masset anymore. PS is becoming more popular in the Evergreen state, and even Oregon. Here's a roundup.