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.

Gustafson 2009 Estate Petite Sirah

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!


Tasting Notes

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. 


*Media Sample

Foppiano Vineyards 2008 Petite Sirah

I have always liked Petite Sirah but after having the opportunity to take this tasting journey I am beginning to love it.  Every time I open a bottle I am excited to see what new flavors and subtleties I am going to encounter.  Today I am going to enjoy a bottle that Foppiano Vineyards kindly sent to me as a sample.  Foppiano Vineyards is one of Sonoma County’s oldest vineyards.  What began in 1896 is now a 160 acre family estate nestled in the Russian River Valley. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Foppiano’s 2008 Estate Bottled Petite Sirah comes from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County.  It is 100% Petite Sirah and has a 15.2% alcohol content.  The wine was harvested Sept-Oct 2008 and bottled July 2010.  The wine retails for around $20.  (For more info see www.foppiano.com )

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Foppiano Petite Sirah pours a dark plum.  It has a nose of rich dark chocolate, ripe blueberries, blackberries, and a hint of spice.   It starts off with big fruit tastes of dark cherry and blueberry with a little heat from the alcohol.  The finish is smooth with a combination of earthy tannins, a touch of spice, and a bit of lingering cherry.  This is a complex wine and I am enjoying the integration of all of the flavors. 

Foppiano’s 2008 Petite Sirah is a great wine, especially for the price of $20.  It’s only going to get better over time so I would suggest you buy a bottle to enjoy now and cellar one for later.  Cheers!

My Wine Rating- B+

Cartograph 2012 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer

A few months ago, I visited Cartograph’s tasting room in downtown Healdsburg and had the chance to sip through many of their wines.  When we got to their 2012 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer, I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared to like it so much.  I haven’t had too many domestic versions that I would care to sip again.  To my surprise, Cartograph makes a wonderful Gewürz more similar to what you would find from Alsace.

2012 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer
Cartograph 2012 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer

Technical Stuff

100% Gewürztraminer from the Russian River Valley.  13.8% alcohol.  185 cases produced.  Retails for $24.

Tasting Notes

Cartopgraph’s 2012 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer is loaded with beautiful aromas.  There are intoxicating notes of orange blossom, lemon, minerals, and peach.  The palate is elegant and dry with bright tastes of citrus, lychee fruit, and peach.  Surprisingly complex and full with plenty of acidity.  I really dig this wine!

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Healdsburg Square, definitely stop by Cartograph.  Great atmosphere, wonderful people, and excellent wines!

Beautiful Rhones From Two Shepherds

I spent last week tasting my way through many wines in both Napa and Sonoma.  While I definitely found a few noteworthy bottles I want to share with you, I am starting off with my favorite find of the trip…Two Shepherds. 

William Allen is the winemaker and man behind Two Shepherds.  He is also a wine writer and creator of the Simple Hedonisms wine blog.  Two Shepherds exclusively features minimally manipulated Rhone varietals.  Although Two Shepherds first vintage was released only last year, the wines are beautiful and expressive.  William’s passion for Rhones shone through as we tasted his entire lineup. 

I honestly enjoyed each one of his wines.  Some of the wines need a little more time in the bottle to mature, but they are sure to age very well.  Following are tasting notes for the Grenache Blanc and GSM Blend.  If they sound like wines that fit your palate, do yourself a favor and order a few bottles.  (By the way, a membership to “The Flock”, Two Shepherd’s wine club, would make an excellent Christmas gift for any wine lover!)

Two Shepherds 2011 Grenache Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley)

Bright and lively with aromas of citrus and green apple.  Racing acidity and flavors of pear, melon, lime and kiwi make this a wine I could sip any time.  Pair with shellfish or soft cheeses. (13.8% alcohol, $24)

Two Shepherds 2010 GSM Red Blend (Russian River Valley)

The nose has notes of raspberry, strawberry, and hints of sweet tobacco.  The wine is unfiltered and unfined with elegant tastes of red berries, tobacco, and black pepper.  Round, soft tannins and bright acidity make this blend a great match grilled meats.  ($13.8% alcohol, $32)