SW United States – a small sampling..

Renwood Winery
2009 Petite Sirah
Shenandoah Valley, California

Hey folks, sorry for the crappy picture…sometimes the camera on the phone is outstanding, other times, any little shadow or bizarre lighting seems to just create a lot of havoc!  At any rate, I’m not here to talk of photography!   (sorry Carmie…I’ll leave all the good shots to you! 😉 ) I’m here to talk about this incredible Petite Sirah that I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of weeks back.

May’s theme for our class tasting was Southwest United States..so basically California!  Yup!  All wines brought for the evening were from California.  We decided since the weather was getting warmer, we’d talk about warmer climes!  Originally, the thought was to taste patio wines, and to actually SIP them on the patio…well, the weather wasn’t THAT nice!  We had six wines this evening, and I usually talk about them all.  Not this time. I will showcase only one.  I WILL say, that James and I uncorked and sniffed out our first faulty wine.  Poor Jen…her night to host, and her wine was corked.  Needless to say, she wasn’t impressed!  At least she can return it right?  I digress…tonight is not the time to talk of faulty wine…

Today we talk GOOD wine! And this was an outstanding wine!!  So what IS this Petite Sirah? Well, we know that the French call it Syrah, and the Aussies dub it Shiraz…any relation?  Well, the short answer is no. 

First of all, you can see that they are spelled differently.  You may actually see it called Durif  on the bottle, named after its founder Francois Durif.  And it’s given the adjective Petite because it refers to the size of the berries, which are tightly packed clusters with large leaves.  The highest quality Petite Sirah’s seem to be found in California and Australia.  And I would agree…this one was very good.  And interestingly enough (& also unfortunately) rumour has it that Renwood wineries will no longer be producing Petite Sirah. So disappointing…this wine was by far, the best wine of the night.  Lots of black fruits, but even some fennel (herb) and violet overtones on the nose.  We all found this to be a well balanced glass of wine.  Tannins weren’t too harsh, and balanced nicely with a little acidity and not too high of a level of alcohol (13.5%).  Again, lots of black fruits, and oodles of chocolate!  In fact, Jen had the coup d’etat…”Glosette Raisins in a glass”.  Keep in mind that we opened it immediately upon arriving, and tasted it last in our round of tastings. (Meaning it sat for about an hour before we got to it?)  As time went by, it just kept opening up and getting more and more stunning…those “Glosette Raisins” didn’t appear right away…they “developed” in the glass, and just got more pronounced as the night went on.  What a fantastic description for anyone who loves chocolate and raisins!  Outstanding!

Pairings?  Well, we had the various array of cheeses, but in my book?  A nice thick piece of chocolate cake…yum!

All this to say…if you’re looking for something a little different, give this a try!  You won’t be disappointed! 

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