Our neighbors Jeff and Christine joined us for dinner recently to celebrate Christine's brief return to the neighborhood. She'd been spending some time in (and would be returning to) Texas to help her sister her newborn young'un. The Sweet Partner in Crime and I put together a spread, and as the evening wore on, the wines we'd selected started to run a bit low.
I headed to the rack and pulled a bottle of Petite Sirah I'd picked out on a whim a few days before. I poured us a few glasses. Christine asked what it was. I told them and the two of them simultaneously broke into song:
"Petite Sirah, Sirah…whatever will be, will be…this wine tastes so good to me…Petite Sirah, Sirah…"
We all thought it was pretty daggone funny. Of course, this was our fifth bottle of the evening…
In any case, back to the wine. Petite Sirah (sometimes called Petite Syrah, Petit Sirah, or Durif) is a completely different grape varietal than Syrah. The grape was first cloned in
When we made our first big wine trip to
Petite Sirahs are generally big, inky reds that are often intensely fragrant. They're often quite tannic and can age for years. Petite Sirah was considered a "boutique" wine for many years. More and more of them are now finding their way into the general marketplace. Foodwise, they often pair with any kind of roasted meat, game, earthy vegetables and (sweet heaven) they're wonderful wines to have with chocolate. They should be decanted for awhile after opening, in general. They need a little time and some good swirling to open up. But once they do, they can be, in the words of a friend of mine, "total ass kickers."
If you're a fan of Syrah and Zinfandel, it's certainly worth trying a couple of bottles.
Bogle 2005 Petit Sirah -- I've long been a fan of Bogle, even though I haven't reviewed many of them for the column. They're generally solid, dependable reds. They didn't let us down with the Petit Sirah. This one has a big nose of plums and, believe it or not, apple pie. The body is quite big, and the fruit's pretty bold. The finish starts fruity, but then turns quickly dry and hangs on for a good long while. $9-11.
Oak Grove 2005 Petite Sirah Reserve -- This was the wine which caused the spontaneous post-gustatory singing. As I've mentioned, this varietal has a number of different spellings. This apparently caused their label writer to fall victim to synonym trouble. The label states that fruit flavors "explode on the pallet." If this were truly the case, Oak Grove's warehouses must be a mess. The wine itself is fruity, although not as strong as the Bogle. The SPinC thought it was more subtle than many petite sirahs, and I agree. The nose isn't as strong, nor is the fruit as intense, so it's probably more accessible for someone who's not tried a lot of them. The finish is dry and relatively quick. Still, as pointed out above, it is a pretty good tasting entry. For some, good enough to sing for. $7-8.