January 4th, 2009 – Petite Sirah

Back to work (although us self-employed are never really away from work), and time to try the first “wine of the week” bottle of the year.

It is the 2007 Petite Sirah from de Bortoli, a good value (under $12) wine from Australia – not Italy – that I have enjoyed in the past. Similar to previous experiences, it is purple-coloured, very ripe, with blackberry fruit and not as much of that “jamminess” you get with lower priced Aussie wines (especially the ones with animals on the bottles!). While it won’t win any prizes for complexity, it is a solid wine and very good value.

Interestingly, this is a about the only other Petite Sirah I know of outside of California. Some claim it is actually indigenous to the Sunshine State, although in reality is actually a varietal known as Durif that originally came from France in the 1800s. Interestingly, it is no longer present in France.

Anyone who has had Californian Petite Sirahs knows they can be huge, tannic and alcoholic wines that are often very tough to drink young (by “tough”, I mean not very enjoyable given the tannin levels). But when made well and let age, they can also be gorgeous, taking on more Syrah characteristics (black pepper, earth and blackberries). Turley Vineyards probably makes the best in California, but they start in the $50+ range.

This is no Turley, but for $12.99 on a rainy January night, it will more than do!

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