A Wednesday Night Petite Sirah

Pedroncelli Winery is a family run winery in Geyserville founded in 1927.  They graciously sent me a bottle of their 2008 Dry Creek Valley Family Vineyards Petite Sirah as a sample.  Previous vintages have received some attention from Wine Enthusiast and other critics so I was ready to see if this $15 bottle was still a good buy.

About the Wine- From the Winery

This wine was grown in the Dry Creek Valley in a vineyard that has been planted with Petite Sirah since the early 1900’s.  The wine is 96% Petite Sirah and 4% Zinfandel with a 13.8% alcohol content.  It was aged in American and French Oak for 16 months. (For more information see http://www.pedroncelli.com )

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Pours deep plum, with a nose of blueberry, cocoa, a little bit of cinnamon.  It has a little bit of a less powerful nose than other Petite Sirahs I have tried.  The wine has a bit of a thick feel in the mouth with tastes of blackberries and has some tartness that I think could even out with some decanting.  I am actually going to let the bottle breathe for a bit and come back to it…

I am trying the bottle again a couple of hours later and notice a huge difference.  The tartness has evened out to show much more smoothness with some nice tannins and a little spice in the finish.   In keeping in mind that this bottle retails for $15, I think it is a solid Petite Sirah.  Obviously, if you would like to spend an extra $10+ you could get a lot more depth but I have definitely had some real duds for this price point.  The Pedroncelli is definitely better than the rest of the pack at $15.  I would try a bottle if I were you.

Victor Hugo 2007 Petite Sirah

Petite Sirahs are becoming part of my daily routine and I am definitely not complaining.  Today I received a bottle of 2008 Petite Sirah from Victor Hugo Winery as a sample.  Victor Hugo Winery is a small, family winery in Paso Robles.  Vic started the winery in 1985 and continues to run it with his wife and family.  I don’t think I have ever had the opportunity to try their wines so I am ready to get started.

About the Wine- From the Winery

This wine is 100% Petite Sirah grown in Paso Robles.  It was harvested in Sept-Oct. 2007 and aged for 25 months in American Oak Barrels.  The wine has a 13.8% alcohol content and retails for $22.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Victor Hugo Petite Sirah pours an intense plum color.  The wine has a nose of berries with a heavy hit of spicy clove.  It definitely has a distinct nose as compared to the other Petite Sirahs I have reviewed.  The clove shows up immediately in taste as well.  This full bodied wine also has notes of black licorice, oak, and blackberry.  It ends with plenty of tannins and a dry, spicy finish.  The Victor Hugo is unique Petite Sirah.  If you are looking for a whimpy, fruity wine, this isn’t for you.  This definitely caters to those who love big, bold, and spicy flavors.

My Wine Rating: B

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 www.vinarobles.com

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 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

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…