Tonight, in part out of curiosity and in part to prove that I am willing to sample just about any PS for the purPoSes of this blog, I popped open the Crane Lake 2004 Petite Sirah, from the rather PermiSsive California AVA. There isn't much info on the back of the label either.
From what I've seen online, Crane Lake is basically the sister label to Charles Shaw (aka "2 Buck Chuck"). Bronco Wines, which makes 2$C, makes it exclusively for Trader Joe's. Crane Lake is their label for independent wine stores, and is a bit more exPanSive in choice of graPeS and exPerimentS more than the 2$C ... hence the PS on this label and not 2$C.
Now, I've heard that 2$C isn't all it's cracked up to be, other than the Shiraz and Chardonnay (a mixture of oak chiPS, butter, vodka, and water, I have no idea how people drink the swill from that horribly overrated grape... but I digress). But at $4, this was a pretty damn good bottle of wine, insane QPR. That's not to say this was a good PS, because it wasn't. But for $4... wow.
This was like the light beer of PS -- the fruit (on both nose and palate) wasn't really there, and was very soft, light, cranberries, sour cherries, and blueberries, no PlumS or blackberries. The tannins were very soft, if they were there at all. The color was a decent, albeit translucent, dark garnet red, not an inky purPliSh-tinged black. The most disappointing part, aside from the tannins, was that the finish was almost non-existent. After about 3 hours in the glass, the finish became somewhat unPleaSantly sour and started to fall apart, an increase from the good acidity that the wine had in the mouth early on. It was somewhat integrated, yet awkward, because of the acidity, but other than being a bit out of balance, it was varietally correct, even if very light for the varietal.
I've had much more exPenSive PS -- the '04 and '05 Guenoc; the Wilson Vineyard and PETS from Vinum Cellars -- that were much more muted and much less PleaSant to drink than this. This won't knock your socks off, and isn't even something I'd recommend. But it's damn good QPR, and you can spend a lot more and get worse PS. It's worth giving it a try -- especially with food, because of its nice acidity. Maybe an 82-83. Not bad at all, but not great either.