Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WBW #40 - Petite Sirah

Sonadora got the nod from the Wine Blogging Wednesday committee and chose Petite Sirah for the theme. This presented two dilemas for me: (1) I have never tasted a good Petite Sirah, and (2) this was the first WBW that required me to go shopping - my cellar is usually well-stocked for such events.

Searching the SAQ (local wine monopoly) website, I found just 6 Petite Sirah wines online. Moreover, not all of the bottles were at stores nearby. In the end I found a Mexican Petite Sirah and a Aussie Durif nearby, making a few firsts for Joe's Wine - my first Mexican wine, my first Aussie Durif and my first blog entry in the Petite Sirah category. The wines were decanted and served blind.

Mexico? I actually thought it was Californian on the website, but realized my mistake when I got to the store. Could the land of tequila take one of California's signature grapes and make something nice at 12 bucks? The 2004 L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah (100%) comes from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico. Dark cherry red in the glass, it was pleasant - but simple - on the nose, with some black cherry, vanilla and faint floral scents. On the palate was jammy fruit, supported by gripping tea-like tannins, but light on acidity and a bit "hot". Smooth, rich, it had decent length and could probably be cellared. At less than $12 this was a steal, and should be a serious consideration in the "fruity New World" category for upcoming holiday parties. Great Value!
cork. 14% alcohol
Score: 15/20
Price: $11.95 (SAQ)

Like the Cetto above, the 2005 Deen de Bortoli Vat 1 Durif was chosen because it was easily accessible. Dark cherry red, this wine showed a much more interesting nose - black cherry, smoke, leather, wet fur, and leafy/woodsy notes, very nice. Dry, with fresh acidity, pretty cherry fruit, and velvety tannins, this was a luscious and classy pour. Short finish, drink now.
screw top. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 16/20
Price: $17.50 (SAQ)

Overall, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't get a California Petite Sirah in here, but then I would never have discovered Mexico. Olé! Going into this I thought the wines would be tannic and alcoholic fruit bombs, brutes. The tannins in these bottles were soft and palatable, and the alcohol was lower than I expected. Still fruit bombs, but enjoyable sippers.

Thanks, Sonadora, for pulling me out of shell. I never go back in.


RougeAndBlanc said...

I am so glad you picked a Mexican wine. This same wine is available in NYC (2004 for $7 at Astor) and I must try it.
According to a sales person I met in a retail tasting, Mexico may be a up and coming wine region, especially for warm weather varietals.

Edward said...


I'm surprised the Aussie Durif only clocked in at 13.5%
I think I share your ambivalence towards the grape.

Sonadora said...

Well Joe, I don't think I've made a PS convert out of you, but I'm glad you were able to find some you at least enjoyed! The Mexico one sounds particularly interesting, never had a Mexican wine myself. Thanks for participating.

Joe said...

Andrew - at 7 bucks it is hard to disappoint. Spitoon tasted the same wine, younger vintage. Worth a shot!

Edward - I was shocked that a wine with "Australia" and "Durif" on the label could be so low in alcohol, but it tasted that way on the palate. Not really sure how I really feel about PS - too few tasting experiences.

Hi Sonadora - I am a wine convert - my cellar has virtually everything under the sun. Not sure how I feel about PS per se, but at this price point these were great wines, regardless of the grape.