Dark and Delicious 2014 – A Petite Sirah and Food Extravaganza!

One of my favorite Bay Area food and wine events, the 8th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah is coming to Alameda in February!  Dark & Delicious (“D&D”) is the preeminent annual Petite Sirah event in the world.  It’s put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

Image courtesy of P.S. I Love You!

In a nutshell, it’s 40+ wineries pouring Petite Sirah (“P.S.”), collaborating with 25+ fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers for a food and wine extravaganza.

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick 411 on P.S.

  • Created by François Durif, it is the love child of a noble grape, Syrah, and an obscure peasant grape Peloursin in 1880
  • 90% of the world’s P.S. vineyards are in California
  • Produces big, masculine, typically ink-colored wines that tend to be tannic with moderate to high-acidity
  • Sometimes (increasingly it seems) referred to as Durif

What makes this event special for me is…

  • It’s a”one-stop” tasting of P.S. from the finest producers throughout Cali.  It’s a great chance to experience the diversity of P.S. both geographically, and stylistically.
  • It’s a great opportunity to get to know P.S. as a food partner beyond the typical steak and BBQ because you get a chance to try all manner of gustatory delights from savory to sweet and everything in between.
  • It’s offers great value! For the price of a couple of Napa Valley wine tastings, you can eat and drink (responsibly of course;-) to your heart’s content.
  • It has the most evocatively appropriate name of all the wine events I attend…it put’s a smile on my face whenever I think “Dark & Delicious”!

I’ve been the last several years and it’s gotten better year. I expect this year will be the best yet! The foodie in me has already circled Hella Lumpia, Gators Back Porch BBQ, and A Fork Full of Earth Organic Catering as a few of the new food purveyors to check out this year!

The event web site has a list of the wineries pouring this year. And the list of food vendors signed up so far for this year is more impressive than ever.  

P.S. I Love You Dark and Delicious Tasting
February 21th, 2014
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $65 per person (free parking).  There are also discount tickets available ($55) for group of 6+.  The more the merrier!

The event has sold out in the past so put some pep in your step!  For more details and tickets click here.

If you do decide to go, I recommend you:

  • Wear dark clothes
  • Don’t wear perfume/cologne
  • Since there’s plenty of food, grab a bite when you (they’ll be plenty of food
  • And SPIT!

Related posts you might enjoy:

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Recap of Dark & Delicious 2013 – The Petite Sirah Event Of The Year!

I attended the 7th annual Dark & Delicious (“D&D”) last Friday, February 22nd.  D&D is an excellent opportunity to take a walk on the “dark side” for  Petite Sirah (“P.S” – a.k.a. “Pet”.) and food lovers.  The event is put on by an advocacy group of P.S. winegrowers, and producers known as P.S. I Love You.

Seventh Annual Dark & Delicious Recap - Artezin Vendor Shot

Here’s a quick 411 on P.S.

  • Created by François Durif, it is the love child of a noble grape, Syrah, and an obscure peasant grape Peloursin in 1880
  • 90% of the world’s P.S. vineyards are in California
  • Produces big, bold, typically ink-colored age-worthy wines with black and blue fruit flavors that tend to be tannic with moderate to high-acidity
  • Sometimes referred to as Durif
P.S. I Love You - glasses at the ready

P.S. I Love You – glasses at the ready – Image courtesy of Jojo Ong

This year’s event featured about 50 wineries.  I’d estimate there were 125-150 wines available for tasting.  So there was beaucoup wine, including some older vintages like this wine from Teldeschi…

Seventh Annual Dark & Delicious Recap - 2002 Teldeschi

The reason D&D is one of my favorite wine and food events goes beyond my love of the Petite Sirah varietal.  Petite Sirah is an underrated, food friendly wine that is capable of pairing with so much more that the typical BBQ and roast meats with which it is  so often recommended. D&D is a great opportunity to try P.S with a variety of ethnic foods…

Seventh Annual Dark & Delicious Recap - Paella

and pork…Since the event is sponsored by the National Pork Board…there is plenty of pork ( a good thing in my book) in all of its glorious forms.

And there was chocolate…plenty of chocolate…

Dark and Delicious Healdsburg Toffee Company

Delectable chocolate treats from The Healdsburg Toffee Company

The wine and food pairing of the night for me was the 2011 Miro Petite Sirah paired with Blue Heron Catering‘s Braised Pork Belly Meatball.  I would love to have shown you a photo but every time I went back for more all I could think about were those meatballs, which are among the best I’ve ever had!

On the wine front, whenever I come to an event such as this with so many wines to try, I prioritize my tasting such that I try wines from wineries that are new to me first, saving some of my tried and true favorites for later. Even so, it’s impossible for me to taste all the wines available.  I ended up trying about 50 wines.  My favorite wines, rated as “outstanding” (90+ points), were:

  • 2010 Aaron Jackson Wines Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Aver Family Vineyards Petite Sirah Blessings
  • 2009 Carica Petite Sirah Kick Ranch
  • 2009 David Fulton Petite Sirah
  • 2006 Delectus Petite Sirah
  • 2008 Field Stone Petite Sirah Staten Family Reserve
  • 2007 Gustafson Family Vineyards Petite Sirah
  • 2007 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill York Creek Vineyards
  • 2010 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate
  • 2009 Robert Biale Petite Sirah Thomann Station
  • 2010 Robert Biale Like Father Like Son
  • 2010 Robert Biale Petite Sirah Basic Black Rutherford
  • 2010 Robert Biale Petite Sirah Dessert Wine (fabulous with fudge!)
  • 2009 Rock Wall Wine Co. Petite Sirah Carver Sutro Palisades
  • 2010 Rock Wall Wine Co. Petite Sirah C.C. Ranch
  • 2006 Stage Left Cellars Petite Sirah Russell Family Vineyards
  • 2010 Tres Sabores Petite Sirah
  • 2010 Trueheart Vineyard Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Viszlay Vineyards Petite Sirah

This event will continue to be circled in red on my annual wine event calendar because it’s a fantastic food and wine experience.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine.  And since I’m a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff!  Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Petite Sirah Paradise…Dark and Delicious 2013!

One of my favorite Bay Area food and wine events, the 7th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah is coming to Alameda later this month!  Dark & Delicious (“D&D”) is the preeminent annual Petite Sirah event in the world.  It’s put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

Dark and Delicious 2013

Image courtesy of psIloveyou.org.

In a nutshell, it’s 50 + wineries pouring Petite Sirah (“P.S.”), collaborating with 35 food purveyors for a food and wine extravaganza.

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick 411 on P.S.

  • Created by François Durif, it is the love child of a noble grape, Syrah, and an obscure peasant grape Peloursin in 1880
  • 90% of the world’s P.S. vineyards are in California
  • Produces big, masculine, typically ink-colored wines that tend to be tannic with moderate to high-acidity
  • Sometimes (increasingly it seems) referred to as Durif

What makes this event special for me is…

  • It’s a”one-stop” tasting of P.S. from producers throughout Cali.  It’s a great chance to experience the diversity of P.S. both geographically, and stylistically.
  • It’s a great opportunity to get to know P.S. as a food partner beyond the typical steak and BBQ because you get a chance to try all manner of gustatory delights from savory to sweet and everything in between.
  • It’s offers great value! For the price of a couple of Napa Valley wine tasting, you can eat and drink (responsibly of course;-) to your heart’s content.
  • It has the most evocatively appropriate name of all the wine events I attend…it put’s a smile on my face whenever I think “Dark & Delicious”!

To illustrate my second point above…a couple of my favorite unexpectedly delightful food and wine pairings from last year’s event were  Bhel Puri, an “Indian Street Food” of puffed rice, garbanzo flour noodles, wheat crisps, Russet potatoes, Jazz apples, Sweet onion, Zante currants, mint cilantro chutney, tamarind chutney, and blackberry chutney. The other was my favorite chocolate and P.S. pairing of the night (there were many) – Bacon Salted Caramel (made with Zoe’s Meats applewood smoked bacon, organic sugar and an English dark cane syrup dipped in 72% E. Guittard chocolate and finished with applewood smoked salt) from Nosh This.  Mmmm….my mouth is starting to water as I recollect the pairings (Click here for my recap of last year’s event Dark & Delicious)!

I’ve been the last couple of years and it’s gotten better each time. And I expect this year will be the best yet!  Go check it out!  Your palate and belly will thank you!

P.S. I Love You Dark and Delicious Tasting
February 22nd, 2012
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $63 per person (free parking), and the event has sold out in the past.  For more details and tickets click here.  

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Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. is an “itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop”. Though recently Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker/owner of Bedrock Wine Co. announced some big changes including building a new winery, and hiring of close friend, Chris Cottrell to work with him.  Sounds like Bedrock will be moving from the “itsy-bitsy” level to a higher level production-wise.  The wines are already major quality-wise!

There are two things that make Bedrock Wine Co. special in my view – the first is Morgan (you can check out his full bio here), but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug” including working harvests in McLaren Vale, Australia and worked as a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux before returning to California to focus on revitalizing California’s heirloom vineyards. The second is his vineyard sources. I did a post last year entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together, wherein I focused on the sources of Bedrock’s grapes.

In terms of the wine making process itself at Bedrock, it’s surprisingly Ole Skool (or as Morgan might put it “Cro-magnum”).  Grapes are pitch-forked into a small Zambelli destemmer, the punch-downs are manual, after fermentation the wines are basket pressed in an Italian press that is manually operated.   It’s a very manual and time-consuming process, but I can vouch for the results.  Peterson is making some unique distinctly Californian wines that are spectacular!

The Wine

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Pagani Ranch, one of the many vineyards from which Bedrock Wine Co. sources grapes that are listed in the registry of the Historical Vineyard Society.  Pagani Ranch Vineyard is run today by the founder’s grand-daughter and great-grandson, Norma Amantite and her son Dino.

Here’s what the Bedrock Wine Co. says about the wine…

The first vintage of what should be many from the storied and ancient Pagani Ranch.  A classic field-blend planted in the 1880′s.  Pagani Ranch’s cool soil and unique mesoclimate yield a rich, dense, but vibrant wine.  After a taxing growing season the Amantite family did a highly selective pick which yielded less than .5 tons per acre.  Fermented in open-top vats using native yeasts and then barreled down to 100% French oak, of which 33% was new, the wine aged for 11 months in barrel.  The resulting wine is black, powerful, and perfumed, and a testament to experienced farming overcoming a tough year. 9 barrels made.

The last time I saw Morgan he comments that most folks are drinking his wines too young.  Guilty as charged!  The good news is I have another bottle.  I do my best to hold on to that for a few years to see how it ages…but no promises;-)

Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color with beautifully aromatic plum, blackberry, cassis, spice and hints of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, intense, and elegant with blackberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.

Rating: Highly Recommended.

Pair with: This wine has a nice vein of acidity, making it food-friendly.  Try with roasted or grilled pork, or beef, Mexican food. For a twist try with seared ahi tuna or pâte, or a chicken liver mousse!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountySonoma Valley
  • Grape Varieties: Field blend of Zinfandel (approximately 65%), Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Petite Sirah, and Lenoir.
  • Cooperage: 100% French oak French oak from Ermitage and Rousseau, 33% new for 11 months
  • Retail: $37
  • Cases produced: 225
  • Drink: now – 2020

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Tasted: A Trio of V. Sattui Winery Wines

V. Sattui Winery is located in Napa Valley town of St. Helena.  It’s one of the most popular stops (over 400k visitors annually) along Highway 29.  And with a plethora of wonderful wines (over 45), an on-site gourmet deli and cheese shop, great picnic grounds, and a reasonable ($10) wine-tasting fee (down-right inexpensive by Napa Valley standards)- why not?!

V. Sattui has an interesting history – Before Prohibition, and After Prohibition.  The winery traces it’s roots back to 1885 when Vittorio Sattui established a winery in Italian Colony of the North Beach in San Francisco.  The winery later expanded and flourished in the Mission District of The City.  Then, after Prohibition was enacted in 1919, the winery closed.

The story picked up again in 1976 when Dario Sattui re-stablished the winery. But not without being on the verge of going out of business.  Dario’s persistence, vision, innovation, and commitment to excellence has guided V. Sattui Winery to the pinnacle of success (click here for complete history)  That same vision, and commitment to excellence lead Dario found Castello Di Amorosa.

“We don’t deify wine…It’s not about the wine, it’s about having a good time.” – Dario Sattui (courtesy of SF Gate)

V. Sattui Winery is a winery-direct business, meaning the wines may only be purchased at the winery in St. Helena, on-line or by phone. The wines aren’t sold in stores or restaurants.

V Sattui Trio

I have a confession – as many times, as I’ve been to Napa, I’ve never visited the winery.  That’s primarily because I tend to favor smaller wineries.  After tasting this trio of wines, I’ll be rectifying my oversight my next trip to Napa Valley!

My tasting notes follow:

V Sattui 2009 PS

2009 V. Sattui Winery Petite Sirah

Inky violet color with tart black fruit, chocolate, and cedarwood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-full bodied, with dusty tannins (I like a wine with some grip), and ripe blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and dark chocolate flavors. Medium finish. – 89pts

Rating: Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.8%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaNapa Valley
  • Grape Varieties: 97% Petite Sirah, 2% Petite Verdot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cooperage: 18 months in 16% new American oak, 24% New French Oak, 60% seasoned oak
  • Vineyard: Allias Vineyard; Head-trained vines planted in 1926
  • Retail: $35
  • Cases produced: 150

V. Sattui 2009 Zin

2009 V. Sattui Winery Zinfandel Gilsson Vineyard

Violet color appealing briary, floral dark fruit and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium full bodied with well integrated dusty tanning, medium acidity and mixed berry, black cherry, vanilla and spice flavors. Medium long finish. – 91pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountyRussian River Valley
  • Grape Varieties: 98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
  • Cooperage: 18 months in 13% new American Oak, 22% new French oak, 65% seasoned oak
  • Vineyard: Gilsson Vineyard; Head-trained vines planted in early 1960s
  • Retail: $37
  • Cases produced: 839

V Sattui 2010 PN

2010 V. Sattui Winery Pinot Noir Henry Ranch Carneros

Ruby color with very good aromatics of cherry, raspberry, and spice. On the palate, it’s creamy smooth and medium bodied with cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Med long finish. – 90pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaNapa / SonomaCarneros
  • Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
  • Cooperage: 10 months in 50% new French oak, 50% seasoned French oak.
  • Vineyard: Henry Ranch Vineyard; planted to Pommard and Dijon clones
  • Retail: $39
  • Cases produced: 1089

Wines above were provided as media samples for my review

 

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Value Alert! – An(other) Enjoyable Everyday Petite Sirah for under $10!

I’m a big fan of Petite Sirah.  It’s one of my favorite grape varietals.  The challenge though for many Petite Sirah (a.k.a. “Pet”, “PS”) lovers, is that the wines can be pricey.  If you’re willing to pay $35 and up, finding a very good to excellent PS isn’t hard to do.  It’s a much bigger challenge to find one  in the $20-25 range, and an even bigger challenge to find one for less than $15, much less $10!

I was introduced to this wine when it was brought to our wine-tasting club’s  blind tasting – Petite Sirah night-Round 2 ( The Round 1 winner was the 2010 Redtree Petite Sirah - check out the posts below!). Stay tuned for the Round 2 results later this week!

This wine is produced by Oak Ridge Winery, which was founded in 1934 as a winemaking cooperative of local growers in Lodi, California. Oak Ridge is the oldest operating winery in Lodi.  In fact, the original winery’s 50,000 gallon redwood tank has been converted to a tasting room!  Over the last 8 years,  the historic landmark has been transformed into a state-of-the-industry winery.

Winegrower Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds, purchased the Oak Ridge Winery in 2001.  According their website…

Under the leadership of General Manager Nicholas Karavidas, along with Senior Winemaker Chue Her, Oak Ridge Winery is fast becoming a beacon for Lodi’s future. The winery produces small lots of its own hand-crafted wines, including its signature Old Zin Vines (“OZV”), and offers custom winemaking services to a growing list of wineries and custom brands. Each of our wines and all of our relationships reflect our passion, commitment to quality and uncompromising integrity.

In addition to this wine, Oak Ridge produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Old Vine Zinfandel,  Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio under the Maggio label.  I’m going to have to give a few of those a try!

My tasting notes follow:

Violet color with smoky, earthy dark fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with good acidity  and fruity with blackberry, vanilla, cacao, and spice flavors.  Medium finish. – 88pts

Recommendation: I enjoyed this wine even more than the Redtree (which is lighter-bodied style wine). It’s a great value at $10.   If you’re a fan of Petite Sirah, (or for that matter Cabernet Sauvignon, or Syrah) and are looking for an everyday wine, give this one a try.

Details

  • Alcohol: 13.0%
  • Residual Sugar: 0.46%
  • SRP: $9.99 (purchased for $7.99 at World Market)
  •  Click here to find

Wine Of The Week – 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rosé

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) for June 9-June 15 is the 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rose

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in  1960.

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

This isn’t the first Ridge that is my WoW (and I’m sure not the last either;-) In case you missed it, I previously featured the 2009 Ridge Buchignani Ranch Carignane in this post

The Wine

This wine is an alluring blend of Zinfandel,  Mataro (a.k.a. Mourvèdre), Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Carignane from the Ridge Lytton Estate Vineyard – the same vineyard source of the iconic Lytton Springs Zinfandel blend.  The lion’s share of the vineyard was planted in 1901, and 1910.  The vineyard is registered with the Historical Vineyard Society (click here for details).  According to their website:

This vineyard used to be part of the estate of Captain William Litton, who during the last half of the 19thcentury developed the springs in the area and built a hotel and spa for San Franciscans who arrived by train to “take the waters.”  Paul Draper saw these old vines in 1972 and made the first Lytton Springs bottling that year.

I enjoyed this wine with a Mediterranean Couscous Salad topped with Feta cheese.  It was a great pairing!

Summertime in a glass – 2011 Ridge Lytton Estate Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Light-red pink color with a distinctive lovely orange hue with cherry, citrus and watermelon aromas. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied, and is dry, and well-structured. It shows a zippy acidity with vibrant fruit flavors of cherry, watermelon along with hints of citrus and spice. An outstanding Rose. Medium finish.- 90pts

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.  From time to time, a wine induce one to savor its flavors and/or aromas long the bottle has been finished.  This was one of those wines for me!

Details:

Alcohol: 12.9% alcohol.

Closure: Cork closure.

AVA: Dry Creek Valley.

Varietal(s): 48% Zinfandel, 36% Mataro, 7% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache, 4% Carignane.

Production: 3 Barrels produced

Media Sample

Petite Sirah Smackdown! 12 Petite Sirahs – 1 Winner!

The most recent Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club meeting featured Petite Sirah (“P.S.”).  There was a diverse selection of P.S.  from wine regions throughout Northern, and Central California.  There were three from Sonoma, 2 each from Napa, Mendocino, and Paso Robles along with Livermore, the Sierra Foothills and Santa Clara Valley.  It was big night in that not only were there 12 P.S. to taste, there were also 18 tasters!  The taster’s experience with wine was a diverse as the regions.  There were a few hardcore “winos” who have lots of experience with wine, but the majority of the tasters are less experienced.

As always, before we got down to the business of  tasting the wines, we had plenty of good eats,  thanks to our gracious host who served up all manner of grilled meats.  Additionally, everyone was asked to bring a dish that would pair well with P.S., so there was a bit of everything!   It’s always a pleasure to get a bite to eat, and catch up with everyone before our tastings!

The wines were blind-tasted in the following order. My tasting notes follow (click on the link for my detailed Cellar Tracker reviews and ratings):

The wines bagged and tagged. A couple of more were added later!

2008 Guglielmo Family Winery Petite Sirah Private Reserve - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley
13.2% alcohol. $25 Retail 405 cases produced

2008 Clayhouse Vineyard Petite Sirah Estate Show Pony Red Cedar Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
14.2% alcohol. Retail – $35

2008 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Conservancy - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Livermore Valley
13.5% alcohol. $15 Retail. 6,000 cases produced

2008 Pedroncelli Petite Sirah - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
13.8% alcohol. $16 Retail.

2009 Kent Rasmussen Petite Sirah Esoterica Chavez-Leeds Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford $40 Retail

2009 Rock Wall Wine Co. Petite Sirah Gamble Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
15% alcohol. Retail $35 291 cases produced

2008 Field Stone Petite Sirah Staten Family Reserve - USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
15.5 % alcohol. Retail $35. 636 cases produced.

2007 Barra of Mendocino Petite Sirah Mendocino - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino
Retail $22. 390 cases produced

2010 Redtree Petite Sirah - USA, California, Sonoma County  12.5% alcohol. $8 Retail. 3,416 cases produced.

2009 Viña Robles Petite Sirah Estate - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
15% alcohol. $26 Retail.  3,352 Cases produced

2009 Lava Cap Petite Sirah Reserve Granite Hill - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado
Alcohol 14.8% Retail $30. 447 cases produced

2009 Artezin Petite Sirah Garzini Ranch Mendocino County - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
14.2% alcohol. Retail $36.

Group results:

Photo courtesy of Jojo Ong

After the scores were tabulated here’s the winner!…

Yes…an $8 wine bet out all the rest!  By now, the results don’t surprise me, especially when a blind tasting is involved.  This wine is a great value, and at $8 it could make a great everyday wine!  I’ll definitely be looking for this one!  You should too!

The order of finish for the runners-up was as follows:

  1.  2008 Field Stone Petite Sirah Staten Family Reserve
  2. 2007 Barra of Mendocino Petite Sirah Mendocino
  3. 2009 Lava Cap Petite Sirah Reserve Granite Hill
  4. 2009 Viña Robles Petite Sirah Estate
  5. 2009 Rock Wall Wine Co. Petite Sirah Gamble Ranch 
  6. 2009 Kent Rasmussen Petite Sirah Esoterica Chavez-Leeds Vineyard 
  7. 2008 Pedroncelli Petite Sirah
  8. 2008 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah Conservancy
  9. 2008 Clayhouse Vineyard Petite Sirah Estate Show Pony Red Cedar Vineyard 
  10. 2009 Artezin Petite Sirah Garzini Ranch Mendocino County
  11. 2008 Guglielmo Family Winery Petite Sirah Private Reserve
NOTE:  All wines were media samples

The “Bonus” round!

After the main tasting was finished, we paired this “Port-style” dessert wine with two blue cheeses, Castellano Creamy Blue Cheese, and Trader Joes’s Aged Blue Cheese…

and two types of dark chocolates (one with 72% cacao, and one with 85% cacao) to see which pairing we preferred.

The wine was a hit! Here are my tasting notes:

2008 Barra of Mendocino Petite Sirah Bella Dolce Mendocino - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino
Deep dark garnet color with dark fruit, roast coffee aromas. Jammy decadent blackberry/blueberry cobbler and vanilla flavors. Long finish 18.5% alcohol. Made with organic grapes. Retail – $28 (87 pts.)

It was a toss-up between the Castellano creamy blue cheese, and the Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer 85% cacao chocolate as to which of the chocolates and cheeses it worked best with.  I can tell you that both disappeared rather quickly.  For many it was their first time trying a blue cheese with red wine, and they found it to be a surprisingly delightful pairing!

All in all, it was a great tasting – with purple teeth all around! P.S. We Love You!

Look for Part 2 of the Petite Sirah Smackdown – Coming soon!

Value Alert! Great Everyday Petite Sirah for $8!

I’m a fan of Petite Sirah.  It’s one of my favorite grape varietals.  The challenge though for many Petite Sirah (a.k.a. “Pet”, “PS”) lovers is that the wines can be pricey.  If you’re willing to pay $35 and up, finding a very good to excellent PS isn’t hard to do.  It’s a much bigger challenge though to find one  in the $20-25 range, and an even bigger challenge to find one for less than $15, much less $10!

That’s where Redtree, the maker of this wine comes, comes to the rescue.  According to Redtree’s website:

Redtree offers consumers fresh, fruit forward, distinctive varietals of consistent quality and exceptional value that are ready for immediate consumption. These wines are ideal as an aperitif and complement everyday meals as well as special occasions

Redtree is one of three Cecchetti Wine Company brands (along with Line 39,and Backhouse).  To the wine!

My tasting notes follow:

Inky purple-black color with earthy, baked dark fruit aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied,  smooth, and fruity with soft tannins,  and blackberry, black cherry, and vanilla flavors. Short finish.  Great price-performance, especially for P.S.! – 86pts

Recommendation: I enjoyed this wine, particularly as a value play!  It’s fruit forward, but not jammy, and an easy drinker.  And at 12.5% alcohol, it’s lower than most Petite Sirah you’ll come across.  If you’re a fan of Petite Sirah, (or for that matter Cabernet Sauvignon, or Syrah) and are looking for an everyday wine, give this one a try.  Media Sample

Here’s the wine geek stuff:

  • Appellation: California
  • Alcohol: 12.50%
  • TA: .62
  • Ph: 3.78
  • Winemaker: Bob Broman
  • Cases Produced: 3,416
  • Suggested Retail: $8.00
  • Release Date: Nov. 2011

Wine Of The Week: 2011 Dashe Cellars Vin Gris

My wine of the week for May 12-May 18  is the 2011 Dashe Cellars Vin Gris

The Winery

Dashe Cellars founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.   Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager.  Between the two, they have 40-plus year experience in the wine business including experience at  some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California;  Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and  Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.   The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

This week, there’s a bit of a back story for the Wine of the Week (“WoW”) in that this is one of a couple of bottles of wine I took to the Dominican Republic (D.R.) for vacation (there’s a 3 bottle limit on bringing wine into D.R. but we thought there was a 2 bottle limit)  It’s a good thing I brought it along too.   The wines of the D.R….well let’s just say they leave a LOT to be desired.  After days of drinking what tasted like grape cherry juice or white grape juice (depending on whether it was red or white) with some alcohol in it,  I was seriously jonesing for some better wine.

It was Dashe to the rescue! As I was savoring this captivating Rosé, this song popped into my head and in my mind, I changed the chorus to…“A Dashe saved my vinous life”…;-)

The Wine

The wine is a blend of Grenache (70%), Petite Sirah (20%), and Zinfandel (10%) from Dry Creek vineyards.   To make this Vin Gris,  the juice from tanks of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel is  “bled off”. This technique, used in France for generations, where it is referred to as Saignée  is when a Rosé is produced as a by-product of red wine fermentation.  Essentially, early in the fermentation process, after the fermenting juice has picked up some color, it is removed (“bled off”).  The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding .

2011 Dashe Vin Gris

Cost: $14 Retail

Alcohol: 13.9%

75 cases produced

My tasting notes follow:

Light red color with a hint of orange hue and strawberry, cherry, and aromas. On the palate medium-bodied, and dry with nicely balanced fruit and acidity with ripe black cherry, and spice flavors. Long finish. – 89pts

Pairing with food

I love Rosés.  A dry Rosé such is as this is so versatile with a variety of foods.  What I appreciated about this one is that unlike a lot of Rosés that are light-bodied, this one had some weight, and was medium bodied so it was a great match for with the Yucatan Fish Tacos, Poblano Cream Soup & Goat Barbacoa (Goat Ribs with a mildly spicy cream sauce) I enjoyed it with.