Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wine Blogging Wednesday #40: Petite Sirah

Do you think that Petite Sirah are baby Syrah grapes? Petite Sirah is its own separate varietal but it is certainly in the shadows of many other grapes. But now is the time to learn much more about this grape, and to find some excellent wines made from it.

Today is the 40th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Started by Lenndevours, Wine Blogging Wednesday is a day when many wine bloggers all drink wines based on a shared theme. Then, each blogger posts a wine review and links them to the central site.

Sonadora of Wannabe Wino chose the theme this time and it is "Petite Sirah." For more information on Petite Sirah, you can also check out PS I Love You, a Petite Sirah Advocacy Organization. They have plenty of resources to learn about this varietal, as well as to find numerous producers.

For my own Petite Sirah, I reached into my cellar to pull out a wine from one of my favorite producers, Sean Thackrey. For more information on him, you can read my prior post on this "maverick wine-maker."

The 2003 Sean Thackrey Sirius Petite Sirah ($70) comes from Eaglepoint Ranch in Mendocino County. This is actually the first time I have tasted his Sirius. I was not disappointed in the least. Sean Thackrey has once again created an incredible wine.

The Sirius has an alcohol content of 15.3%, a high alcohol content seemingly common about Petite Sirahs. Yet you don't get any of that heat that you sometimes do from high alcohol wines.

I decanted this wine for a few hours though I did take a taste when I opened the bottle. I could tell from that taste that this wine would be absolutely delicious. I already could detect plenty of dark fruits and spices. But after the decanting, the wine opened up even more.

The Sirius is an inky purple in color and it has an enticing nose of blueberry, violets and vanilla. On the palate it is a full bodied wine, a muscular wine that certainly will wake you up. It has lush fruit, with tastes of blueberries, dark cherry, blackberry. There are also flavors of licorice, smoke, and spice. You could think for hours about all the different flavors that seems to emanate from this wine. It has a very long finish that you don't want to end. Despite its power, it is a well-balanced wine so you are not overwhelmed. It has strong tannins but they too are not a problem.

I loved this wine. It was luxurious and enticing, tantalizing and delicious. Another superior effort by Sean Thackrey! It is not cheap but it is well worth a splurge. And if you enjoy this varietal, then you should definitely try it. I know Domaine547 was able to get some for me.

I should mention the other Petite Sirah wine that I might have had the other night at dinner as well. Why do I say "might?" Well there is some dispute over what type of grapes are actually in this wine.

I had the 2000 Sean Thackrey Orion ($109). The Orion is his top end wine, and it is very limited production, around 350-500 cases each year. Interestingly enough, Thackrey is not sure what varietals go into Orion. For a time, he thought it was Syrah but UC Davis researchers found that there was a lot of Petite Syrah in it as well. So now, because of the dispute, Orion is labeled as "California Native Red Wine. So, I have chosen to include it in WBW.

The Orion is an exceptional wine. It is inky dark in color with a nose of spices like clove and licorice. On your palate, you realize this is a complex wine as there are so many flavors swirling around your mouth. Dark berries, licorice, clove, cinnamon and so much more. Yet the tannins are mild. This is not an in-your-face wine. It is more subtle, more like a Bordeaux than an Australian Shiraz. It has a satisfying and lingering finish. Just a fantastic wine.


Ken and Theresa Hoggins said...

I love PS and I love Sean T's wines. A fine Choice. I guess I will have to pull a bottle tonight & post the review tomorrow morning in the spirit of WBW. Cheers - Ken

Richard Auffrey said...

Hi Ken:
It was nice to meet you at the recent Portuguese wine tasting. Would love to see your review on the wine. I have loved Sean's wines for some time, though I have mostly had his Pleiades. The others are pricey (though well worth it) so I have been slow to acquire them. But I have now acquired several, including an Andromeda and some Aquila. Can't wait to try them as well.

Sonadora said...

Hey Richard, thanks for participating. Sounds like an excellent bottle of wine, though your pockets are quite a bit deeper than mine!!