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 www.CleavageCreek.com for more information on their wines and Budge Brown’s legacy. 

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

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

Rock Wall Wine Company 2009 Petite Sirah

Rock Wall Wine Company graciously sent me a bottle of their latest release of Petite Sirah as a sample for review and we decided to enjoy it and grill a couple of grass-fed sirloins.  Rock Wall Wine Company was founded in 2008 and is housed in a 40,000 square-foot airplane hangar in Alameda.  They get their grapes from vines throughout Northern CA, including vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Contra Costa Counties.  I was interested to see whether this young winery could deliver with their 2009 Petite Sirah.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Rock Wall Wine Company’s 2009 Petite Sirah is from Gamble Ranch in Napa Valley.  It is 100% Petite Sirah and was harvested in Sept. 2009.  The wine was aged in French and Neutral Oak barrels and released April 30, 2011.  The wine has 15% alcohol content and retails for $30. (for more info see www.rockwallwines.com )

Rock Wall Wine Company 2009 Petite Sirah

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The 2009 Rock Wall Petite Sirah pours a deep, dark plum.  It has a sweet nose of black cherries and ripe blackberries with a hint of cocoa.  You immediately get a mouthful of beautiful, dark fruit; cherry, plum, and blackberries.  The fruit is followed with smooth tannins and a long finish of dark chocolate.  The Rock Wall is a really luxurious Petite Sirah and I am surprised it is so young because it is balanced and easy to drink now.  This Petite Sirah should age pretty gracefully over the next few years as well.  It paired nicely with our steaks and would also complement a nice roasted duck.  Great job by Rock Wall Wine Company…grab a bottle and enjoy!

My Wine Rating- B+