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

Wednesday Night Wine- Smoking Loon 2008 Petite Sirah

I am always in search of enjoyable wines for under $15 for your average weeknight drinking pleasure.  Smoking Loon has a variety of wines that you can find at almost any major grocery store for under $10.  They graciously sent me a bottle of their 2008 Petite Sirah as a sample for review.  I am interested to see what it offers for the price of $8. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Smoking Loon Petite Sirah is a California wine that is a blend of Petite Sirah and Syrah (percentages are not given).  The wine has an alcohol content of 13.5% and retails for around $8.  For more information see

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Smoking Loon pours a deep purple.  The nose is subtle for a Petite Sirah but there are a lot of different aromas.  There are notes of blackberries, dark cherries, vanilla, spices, and a hint of oak.  The wine tastes of raspberries and boysenberries with a little hint of dark chocolate.  The earthy tannins are followed by a long, peppery finish.   With most wines, you get what you pay for…but with Smoking Loon, you will generally get a little more bang for your buck.  While it’s not complex or refined, it’s a respectable wine for $8 and it can often be found for $6-7.  If you try a bottle, let me know what you think!

My Wine Rating- B-

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

Pop the Champagne – J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” Premier Cru Brut Champagne

Life is too short to not celebrate the little things!  However, when most bottles of Champagne come with hefty price tags, it’s often hard to justify popping a bottle.  Thankfully, Brandon and I took on the tough job of sipping Champagne priced under $40 and I think we have found a winner; J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” Premier Cru Brut.  Imported by Kermit Lynch, the Cachet d’Or is a blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier aged for 36 months on the lees before disgorgement.

J. Lassalle "Cachet d'Or" Premier Cru Brut Champagne
J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” Premier Cru Brut Champagne

Cachet d’Or has a lovely, creamy texture that romances your palate as you sip the wine.  Harmonious flavors of lemon curd, toast, and green apple are surrounded by minerality and followed with a dry, crisp finish.  It’s definitely sophisticated yet very approachable with an incredible showing of vibrance and complexity for $35.  Grab a bottle, a few friends, and celebrate!

2007 Artezin Petite Sirah

After a beautiful day, it’s time to grill some burgers and open a bottle of Artezin’s 2007 Petite Sirah.  Artezin has kindly sent me a bottle of their wine as a sample to review.  Artezin is part of the Hess family of wines and this Petite Sirah comes from the Ukaih Valley near Lake Mendicino.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Artezin 2007 Petite Sirah was grown in Mendicino County and is a blend of 87% Petite Sirah, 7% Zinfandel, and 6% Charbono.  It was harvested in October of 2007 and bottle November 2008.  The wine has 13.8% alcohol content and retails for $25.  (for more info head to

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Artezin pours dark plum and the nose is very rich.  There are aromas of plum, dark cherry, and blackberry.   After first taste, I decide to decant the wine for an hour to let it develop a bit.  It really smoothes out and is much more enjoyable.   The Petite Sirah tastes of blackberry, dark currants, and a hint of tobacco.  The dusty tannins are followed by lingering notes of cocoa.  I do like the rich, earthy flavor of this wine but it would definitely benefit from a few more years in the bottle.   This wine should age nicely with a little more time.     

(My Wine Rating- B)

A Few Notes from My Petite Sirah Tasting Journey

I have been able to taste 15 bottles of Petite Sirah in the last few weeks and have learned a lot about the wine from Durif.  I want to summarize some of my thoughts and tasting experiences thus far (even though there will definitely be more PS reviews to come since I have several more bottles awaiting me).

First of all, I love Petite Sirah.  While not all bottles are equal, the good ones are really amazing.  I love pairing the perfect bottle with lamb, roasted duck, or even with a simple, juicy burger. 

Secondly, you can find a wonderful bottle of Petite Sirah whether you want to spend $40 or $10.  Coming into this tasting, I thought you had to spend at least $20 to find a drinkable Petite Sirah but I was really wrong.  I have had a few standouts that are easily in a mid-week wine price range.  This being said, here are some of the bottles I have enjoyed the most (at different price points) and that you may want to grab for yourself:

Field Stone 2007 Staten Family Reserve Petite Sirah- My first bottle was a winner.  Elegant and refined with sweet, ripe fruit.  A wonderful wine for $35.

Bogle 2008 Petite Sirah– It can be a challenge to find what this wine delivers for $11(and often only $8-10 at some retailers).  You can afford to drink it on a Wednesday but don’t have to worry about what your guests will think if you serve it on a Saturday. Balanced fruit and smooth tannins.

Michael David Winery 2008 Earthquake Petite Sirah– This was my favorite wine of the 15 bottles and was $24.  Big, complex, and unforgettable.

More reviews coming soon…in the line-up are Lava Cap, Cleavage Creek, and Parducci.  Cheers!