As you can probably tell from this whole blog, I think that Petite Sirah is usually a pretty damn good wine to drink. It has the tannins and the fruit to go well with food, and it ages inordinately better than one would expect. In fact, it's hard to go wrong with Petite Sirah, but there are certainly wines to avoid.
I'm going to start off by describing some of those wines, so you can learn from my mistakes and avoid these like you would avoid Chardonnay.
I've long had a fascination with Israel, so when I saw a bottle of the Gedeon 2004 Petite Sirah (Kosher) at WineLibrary last spring, I had to buy it. The only things better than Petite Sirah and Israel, or I thought, would be something that combines Petite Sirah and Israel. There is certainly some mindblowingly amazing Petite Sirah made in Israel, but the Gedeon was not it. It wasn't even plonk. It was just not really anything remotely close to wine. On the first day, it tasted like sour, bitter (yet not tannic!) prune juice. It was not just unstructured, but seemed to have an anti-structure. On the second day, it "improved" to sour plum juice, and got about a sPlinter'S worth of additional structure.
Maybe part of the problem is that Gedeon is made by Hevron Heights winery, which is one of the largest Kosher wineries in Israel. Hevron Heights also makes many of their wines mevushal, and while one would think if any grape could handle the flash-PaSteurization, it's the sturdy Petite Sirah, this was not the case. However, there might be another explanation: although the genius Dr. Carole Meredith determined that most of the PS in California is "Durif" (as opposed to "Grosse Syrah", PelourSin, Carignane, or Zin), this quite obviously does not apply halfway around the world, in a place with a much different viticultural history. The "PS" used by Hevron Heights might in fact be something else, though it could also be a misbegotten clone or a bizarre cross left over from Israel's pre-genetic ID "jug wine days", wretched terroir, or cranio-rectally ignorant management of this truly noble (though PerhapS Bar Sinister) grape.
Regardless of the problem, if you see this label, head for the hills, and bring plenty of the good stuff with you to ride out the storm!