Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WBW #40: Petite Sirah

The theme of Wine Blogging Wednesday #40, as selected by Sanadora at Wannabewino, is petite sirah. WBW was started by Lenn Thompson of LennDevours.

Wines made from the petite sirah variety are usually bold, pleasant to drink, although not highly distinctive; and can age slowly and have long cellaring potential.

Today, petite sirah vines are mostly planted in warm wine regions. Most of the petite sirah vines grown in the U.S. can be found in California. Until recently, this variety has been considered as the same as Durif, a French variety created by one Dr. François Durif in the 1870s. No one seemed to be able to pin point the exact origin of this grape until 2003 when Dr. Carole P. Meredith, a renowned grape geneticist at U.C. Davis, used modern DNA fingerprinting techniques to identify that 9 out of 10 petite sirah vines found in U.S. are actually Durif and the rest are peloursin (a southern France indigenous variety). She also identified that Durif is a cross of peloursin and true syrah. “Peloursin is the mother and syrah is the father.”, she explained.

I have mentioned in a previous post that both my wife and I loved the petit sirah produced by Guenoc. For WBW 40, I went back to the same producer and drank a 1998 Guenoc Petite Sirah North Coast. This vintage shows 14.4% ABV and cost us $17 at full retail.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Dominated by oak and roasted meat upon initial sniff. After considerable breathing, aroma of plum with hints of herb show up nicely.

Color: Inky purple with very tight rims, no sign of fading.

Palate: Still youthful, this bottle shows up in a rather feminine style with rich and jammy black fruits(plum and blackberry). Note of black tea also detected. Not powerful but shows smooth mouthfeel with a great balance of fruits, acidity and tannins.

Body: Full.

Finish: Fairly long. Notes of plum, vanilla and black pepper.

This bottle is a good example in demonstrating how durable a petite sirah wine can be.

In addition to Guenoc North Coast not being considered a top-level petite sirah and the 1998 vintage is just so so as far as CA vintage goes, this particular bottle was bought from a retail store with less than optimal storing condition.

Under the aforementioned unfavorable conditions, a lot of wines would have fallen apart, but this particular bottle holds up well and sees no sign of fading after all these years. As a matter of fact, it is still in peak drinking condition when we drank it for WBW.

Petite Sirah needs food. It is actually too thick and jammy to sip on its own. Paring it with braised lamb belly, the food and wine matches really well.


Eddie H. said...

We think along the same lines. I had my PS with a braised lamb shank, and it was a great pairing. You're right that PS is a wine that needs food.

Sonadora said...

Any guesses on how much longer this one could last? I'm surprised at how long PS can age and still retain fresh fruit flavors. Thanks for participating!