This week I am going to feature 3 fantastic Rosés from the Dry Creek Valley. Each bottle has a distinct character and they are all great finds. I am starting off with a bottle of Mauritson 2012 Rosé. Mauritson is a family owned winery with a little over 270 acres of estate vineyards. Their 2012 Rosé is a blend of 40% Cab Franc, 35% Malbec, and 25% Merlot from their Rockpile Vineyards. It weighs in at 13.5% alcohol and none of the grapes went through malolactic fermentation.
This Rosé pours a beautiful watermelon color in the glass. It opens with aromas of strawberry and raspberry with floral undertones. The palate is bright and vibrant with tastes of strawberry, red raspberry, and a hint of white pepper. Fresh, delicious, and perfect for a warm, spring day! ($19)
My Wine Rating – A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with a summer salad topped with watermelon, prosciutto, and goat cheese or as an aperitif.
As I am heading into the homestretch of my Petite Sirah tasting journey, I want to highlight a couple of great values. One comes from Pedroncelli Winery and the other from Bogle Vineyards. Both are surprisingly balanced with gentler tannins than many other Petites. Each come in at under $15 and really offer a nice bang for your buck!
Pedroncelli 2009 Petite Sirah pours a deep plum in the glass and offers intense aromas of dark fruit and spice. The palate is smooth and easy to drink with notes of black cherries, pepper, and currants. Nice effort by Pedroncelli! (B, $14, 14.3% alcohol)
Bogle is one of the wines you can find a pretty much every grocery store (Trader Joe’s included). While I generally shy away from grocery store picks, this wine is actually well worth picking up! There are rich aromas of blackberry and leather with a palate of anise, hints of oak, and dark berries. The finish is long and spicy and the price is just right! (B, $10, 13.5% alcohol)
Gustafson Family Vineyards is a small, family run winery in the Dry Creek Valley. Each of their wines are estate grown on their sustainably farmed vineyard. I was excited to have the chance to try their 2009 Estate Petite Sirah (as well as their 2012 Estate Rosé of Syrah…tasting notes to come soon). It is 100% Petite Sirah aged in both French and American Oak. I am glad Gustafson came across my radar (and palate!) because they are definitely a winery worth checking out!
A deep purple in the glass, this Petite has intense aromas of dark fruit, cedar, and earthy herbs. The palate is loaded with flavors of chocolate, sweet oak, leather, and dark berries. Big on flavor yet balanced with many different dimensions! ($28, 14.38% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+/A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with ribs, spice-rubbed leg of lamb, or dark chocolate.
Next up on my Petite Sirah tasting journey are two picks from Parducci. Parducci was founded in 1932 in Mendocino County and they offer a few different bottles of Petite Sirah. I had the chance to taste their 2009 Small Lot Blend and True Grit Reserve. Both are solid picks at great price points!
Parducci 2009 True Grit Reserve Petite Sirah pours an inky, reddish-purple in the glass. The nose features ripe, dark fruit and hints of vanilla while smooth tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and black pepper envelope your palate. I tried this over the course of two nights and it definitely opened on night two! (B+, 14.5% alcohol, $25)
Parducci 2009 Petite Sirah Small Lot Blend is 90% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache, and 5% Syrah. It has warm aromas of cherry and spice and a palate of dark fruit and cedar with a kick of black pepper. The long, spicy finish leaves a lasting impression that will make you come back for more. Both a balanced wine and a great value! (B+, 13.5 % alcohol, $12)
Concannon Vineyard has a rich legacy dating back to 1883 which includes being a major force in creating awareness for Petite Sirah. In 1961, they became the first winery to varietally label Petite Sirah and it has since become the flagship wine of Concannon. Their 2009 Conservancy Petite Sirah is grown on land in Livermore Valley protected against development forever. It is a blend of 95% Petite Sirah and 5% Petit Verdot and is quite delicious!
Concannon’s Conservancy Petite Sirah begins with a rich aromas of cedar, spice, and dark fruit. It is a little lighter-bodied than most Petite Sirah and features a balance of fruit and spice in the palate. There are tastes of cedar, blueberry, blackberries, and earth in the silky palate. Very drinkable and a nice value! ($12, $14.2% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with lamb burgers, grilled chicken, and stronger cheeses.
When I received a bottle of Petite Sirah from Andis, I was interested to learn a little more about the winery and the people behind it. Andis is located in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County and both of the founders came from Hawaii to follow their passion for wine. They have about 25 acres under vine planted with grapes that include Barbera and Grenache. Their 2010 Reserve Petite Sirah is 100% Petite Sirah and comes from the Goedeck Liu and Cooper Ranch vineyards.
Pouring an inky purple, this wine has intense aromas of smoke and dark fruit. The palate features lots of tart berries, chocolate covered espresso beans, tar, and bit of spice. Not overly tannic but still a little youthful. Very enjoyable!
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair this wine with steak, smoked ribs, or venison (think meat!).
A few weeks ago, I was asked by Jo Diaz if I would be interested in taking a Petite Sirah tasting journey. Jo is Executive Director of the Petite Sirah advocacy group PS I Love You and an all-around great woman who is truly passionate about wine. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and, over the last week, the beautiful bottles of Petite Sirah have been arriving at my doorstep!
I am excited to do this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think Petite Sirah is underapprecated and misunderstood. A lot of wine consumers are scared off by thoughts of overpowering, one-dimensional wines. It would be unfair to stereotype Petite Sirah as being one-dimensional. Of course there are some rich, jammy Petites but there is also a world of Petite Sirah that includes more expressive wines with layers of flavor that aren’t overpowering. The second reason I am happy to explore these wines is because there are a whole group of wine consumers who…gasp…don’t even know Petite Sirah exists!
So, over the next couple of weeks I will be showcasing some great Petite Sirah. Some will be terrifc values for under $20 and others will be more eloquent wines worthy of a fantastic meal. I hope you enjoy and check out a bottle or two for yourself!
Ever tried Gaglioppo? Neither had I until I uncorked a bottle of Igreco Catà Rosso Calabria 2007 last week. The Gaglioppo grape is predominantly grown in southern Italy and generally benefits from a little time in the bottle. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip!
This wine opens with a bouquet of red berries and spice. The palate features bright, red fruit, black pepper, sweet tannins, and a lingering finish. If you are looking for a delicious, dinner conversation piece, definitely bring along a bottle of iGreco! ($15, 14% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with pizza, pasta with red sauce, or grilled meats.
Pierre Sparr 2009 Riesling is another great summer sipper from Alsace. Riesling is one of my favorite wines to sip in warm weather because it compliments almost any food and is generally light and refreshing. This 100% Riesling isn’t complex but it is well-balanced and food-friendly!
This bright gold wine has a bouquet of citrus and green apples. The palate is dry and clean with flavors of tart lemon and green apple with hints of minerality. Crisp, refreshing, and easy to enjoy! (12%, $14)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with sushi, oysters or baked salmon with roasted vegetables.
It’s definitely warming up all over California so it definitely seems like the right time to feature some wines that pair with lighter foods and sunshine. One great pick for your summer sipping is 2011 Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc d’Alsace. Simple, clean flavors for around $15 a bottle!
This Pinot Blanc pours a regal gold in the glass. It opens with aromas of pineapple and pear. There are also some floral notes in the nose. The palate has tastes of tangy citrus, peach, and pear with healthy acidity. Uncomplicated and refreshing! (12.5% alcohol, $15)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with brie cheese, a summer salad topped with shrimp and scallops, or crab cakes.