Vina Robles 2008 Petite Sirah

I received a bottle of Vina Robles 2008 Petite Sirah as a sample from the winery and something about the bottle made me want to open it…almost as if it signified that good wine was ahead.  I hope I am right as I sit down after an abnormally stressful day of work to enjoy it.   Vina Robles is a family owned winery founded in 1996 in Paso Robles.  For more info see

About the Wine- From the Winery

The Vina Robles 2008 Jardine Petite Sirah is from their Creston Valley Vineyards in Paso Robles.  The wine was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels and has a 15% alcohol content.  It has a suggested retail of $26.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Vina Robles 2008 Petite Sirah pours a dark garnet.  It has an intoxicating nose filled with blackberries, blueberries, and vanilla with a hint of spice.  It has a taste full of big, dark fruit.  Ripe blackberries, plum, and dark cherry are surrounded with smooth, silky tannins.  It finishes with black pepper and a hint of nutmeg .  This Petite Sirah is very balanced, even with the 15% alcohol.  This wine is a great effort by Vina Robles.  It is ready to drink now but should age gracefully over the next few years as well. 

My Wine Rating- B+

Tasting a Small Part of Budge Brown’s Legacy- Cleavage Creek 2007 Napa Valley Reserve Petite Sirah

Last week I received a very different bottle of Petite Sirah in the mail.  The bottle arrived with a picture of a woman on the front and the wine was called Cleavage Creek.  I figured there had to be an interesting story behind the wine so I went to Google to see what I could find.  It turns out that Cleavage Creek was founded by a philanthropist named Budge Brown who lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer in 2005.  Instead of just letting cancer continue to destroy lives, Budge decided to do something about it and that is when he founded Cleavage Creek wines.  Each bottle features the picture of a breast cancer survivor and a portion of the profits goes to fight breast cancer.  After a little more research it was easy to see that Budge Brown was making a difference and Cleavage Creek wines were just a part of his generous legacy. 

The next day I was twittering away (a place where I spend way too much time) when I saw a tweet that made my heart sink.  Budge Brown’s single-engine plane had gone down Amador County and he had not made it.  What a terrible thing to happen to a man who was changing lives.  Even though I never met him I felt connected through the bottle of wine he had sent to me and the stories I had just read about him.  The wine world was shocked and devastated to hear the news. 

What I learned next made me smile. Budge Brown and Cleavage Creek wines make a nice Petite Sirah.  The 2007 Napa Valley Reserve Petite Sirah is a blend of 90% Petite Sirah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine pours a dark, inky purple with a nose of dark berries and a hint of dark chocolate.  This Petite Sirah tastes of ripe blackberries, plum, and clove with smooth tannins and a dry, oaky finish.  For $45, you can not only enjoy a bottle but also know you are helping with the fight against breast cancer…which is what Budge strived to do every day.  Please visit for more information on their wines and Budge Brown’s legacy. 

*this wine was sent to me as a sample for review purposes

A Great Weekend Wine- Estrella Creek 2004 Petite Sirah

It’s Friday evening and it’s been a really long week.  The first thing on my mind is relaxing and having a nice glass of wine (along with catching up on this week’s episode of Top Chef Masters).  Estrella Creek Wines generously sent me a bottle of their 2004 Petite Sirah as a sample to review.  I did a little research and this vintage received a couple of silver medals in 2009 so I am interested to see how it has developed into 2011. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Estrella Creek is a family run winery in Paso Robles that began in 1977.  This wine is from their 4M Vineyards and is 100% Petite Sirah.  It was harvested in Oct. 2004 and bottled in December of 2006.  The alcohol content is 14.1% and the wine retails for $29. 

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The wine pours a dark ruby.  It has a big, sweet nose of ripe blackberries.  It’s a very luscious smell that immediately makes me believe this is going to be a full-bodied, flavorful wine…and I am right on.  This wine is anything but “petite” (I just got it out and I promise I won’t use this overused saying about petite sirah again).  The Estrella Creek tastes of ripe blackberry, plum, and cocoa with just a hint of pepper at the end.  The tannins are smooth and refined.  This is a great effort by Estrella Creek.  It has developed nicely since bottling and is ready to drink now.  I think it’s a good buy and it won’t disappoint, especially if you are looking for a fruit forward wine.  I think I may even grab another bottle for myself…

Mini-Review – Ballentine Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley Petite Sirah

Ballentine Vineyards is a family-run winery with roots in Napa Valley dating back to 1906.  I received a bottle of their 2010 Petite Sirah in the mail a couple of weeks ago and was definitely surprised with the depth of flavor in each sip!


Tasting Notes

This Petite Sirah opens with enticing aromas of dark berries and spice.  The palate has layers of rich flavors that aren’t too overburdened with alcohol.  There are delicious notes of toffee, blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and spice.  A wine that should definitely be on the radar of any Petite Sirah lover!   (B+, $28, 14.3% alcohol)

*Media Sample

Lava Cap 2007 Reserve Petite Sirah El Dorado

My husband and I are a good combination. He loves grilling and I love finding the wines that will compliment the food he is preparing. Tonight he is grilling a beautiful grass-fed filet so I decided to decant a bottle of Lava Cap 2007 Reserve Petite Sirah. Lava Cap is a family run winery in Placerville, CA and I am looking forward to trying their latest Petite Sirah release.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Lava Cap 2007 Reserve Petite Sirah El Dorado comes from Lava Cap’s Granite Hill vineyard.  400 cases were produced and it has 15.1% alcohol.  The wine retails for $30 and more information can be found at

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Lava Cap pours a dark and inky purple.  It opens up with a sweet nose of dark berries and cherries with a hint of cocoa.  The wine has a big, dark fruit taste with notes of blackberries and dark chocolate.  It has a smooth tannins and a spicy finish with lingering notes of sweet vanilla.  This is a really nice Petite Sirah that really went well with the filet.  It is a great wine for grilling and I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of the bottle…cheers!

My Wine Rating- B

*I received this from the winery as a sample for review