PS (Petite Sirah) I LOVE YOU
If you are wondering if Petite Syrah, Petite Sirah, Durif, and Syrah are all the same varietal, that’s a good question. Petite Syrah, Petite Sirah (with this spelling used mainly in California), and Durif (the French term named after the Botanist who discovered it) are all the same varietal. However, Syrah is not. Every grape variety has two parents, such as Syrah whose parents are Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. Syrah happens to be the father of Petite Sirah and the other parent is Peloursin, an extremely rare grape. Today less than 10,000 acres of Petite Sirah is grown in the world with most of the varietal being grown here in the United States and a small portion in Australia.
Characteristics of Petite Sirah are that it is high in fruit, body, alcohol, and tannins with moderate acidity. If you are looking for a beverage full of antioxidants, Petite Sirah is your wine because it is one of the deepest red wines with lots of antioxidants. Petite Sirah needs to be decanted and can take up to 2-4 hours to evolve. It is best served at 65 degrees to get more of the floral and mineral aromas and bold fruit flavor.
Bacon wrapped dates with glazes accompanied the Parducci 2103 Small Lot Petite Sirah from Mendocino County ($15). The makeup of this wine is 95% Petite Sirah and 5% Zinfandel and has lots of tannins. Parducci was one of the first wineries to bottle this varietal. We loved the deep, hearty, red color as well as the tastes of blackberry, chocolate and spice. At $15 a bottle, this wine is a great buy.
Rock Wall 2012 Le Mur De Roche from Carver Sutro Vineyard in Napa Valley ($60). This Petite Sirah was kept in the barrel for 42 months—not the winemaker’s intention—but it kept getting better and better the longer it aged there. This Le Mur De Roche exhibits wonderful flavors of blackberry, black tea, orange zest, and crème brûlée. It is 16.3% alcohol, adding to its big taste. A rich pork and duck pâté was served with this wine. Of course, we loved it with the BBQ ribs, too. If you want an excellent wine for a special gathering, this would be a great one to buy. It was our favorite.
Bogle 2015 Petite Sirah ($11) with grapes from Clarksburg and Lodi is inky purple in the glass. Both the nose and the palate are rich with flavors of blackberries and plums as well as spice. Since it was a BBQ, we tried potato salad with this wine and thought it went well together because of the creaminess of the salad and the boldness of the wine.
Parducci Reserve 2014 Petite Sirah from Mendocino ($20) has won critical acclaim from both Wine & Spirits and Wine Enthusiast. The nose is wonderfully floral with a taste of the strong fruit flavor of blackberry and dark chocolate. This is a full-bodied wine that can age at least until 2020. Again, the ribs paired well and so did the meatloaf.
The next wine, Merisi Wines 2014 Diener Vineyard Petite Sirah from Lake County ($35), displayed a nose and taste of cassis, chocolate, and cola. We felt it was lacking in the jammy fruit taste characteristic of a Sirah. This is a wine to drink with food rather than just for sipping, and it paired well with the meatloaf with fried green tomatoes as well as the pâté.
The last wine, Hart Vineyards 2014 Brookside Vineyard Petite Sirah from Temecula ($38) typifies the varietal with its deep color and heavy tannins. We tasted bing cherries, blueberries, and peaches in this Petite Sirah. Just a touch of Zinfindel was blended in to create a wine that could be enjoyed earlier than a pure Petite Sirah. This wine has won numerous awards; it has won a gold for Best of Variety and Best of Class in the 2017 New World International Wine Competition and a gold for Best of Class in the 2017 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition. A great pairing was a peach bourbon ice cream. We chose this Hart Vineyards wine as our second choice in the tasting and truly enjoyed it.
The Rock Wall Wine Company (Sonoma County) 2014 Jack’s Petite Sirah ($35) was paired with Raspberry and Blackberry Crostata. Our noses first picked up raspberry and blackberry and then our taste buds were greeted with plum, spice, and pepper. We felt this wine had a Cabernet flavor. It paired nicely with the dessert.
Just because it is summer, do not be afraid of big, bold reds with your meals. Remember to keep them chilled somewhere around 65 degrees and pair them with those tasty burgers and ribs off the grill. Happy summer!
Thanks to P.S. I Love You for selecting a variety of Petite Sirahs for our group to sample and whose mission is to promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety.