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

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

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!

Deep Sea 2008 Viognier

Yesterday, I was enjoying a beautifully made D’affinois cheese, Marcona almond, and honey sandwich (simple yet amazing) at The Cellar in San Clemente when the server suggested I try the Deep Sea 2008 Viognier.  I am always excited to try a new wine from a winery I am not familiar with, especially when it’s a small, California, family-run winery. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Deep Sea 2008 Viognier comes from the Central Coast appellation in California.  It has 15.9% alcohol content and retails for $26.  For more information see

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Viognier pours a white gold color.  It has a crisp, floral nose with hints of pear and grapefruit.  It tastes of citrus and pear and ends with a long, creamy finish.  This is rich, thick Viognier but there is enough acidity to provide a balance.  Deep Sea’s 2008 Vigonier was a great choice with my meal…it really complimented the D’affinois and I think it would pair well with many cheeses.  If you have tried any of Deep Sea’s wines, I would love to know what you think…I am glad I took my server’s advice!

My Wine Rating- B+