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MWG February 9th tasting: report (3/4)

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Petite Sirah 2008, Russian River Valley, Foppiano Vineyards ($24.00, 00611780)
100% Petite Sirah (aka Durif). Aged in oak barrels, 30% new. Dark, spicy plum nose. A velvety mass of inky, tarry fruit in the mouth. Some astringency and heat (15.2% ABV) on the chocolate and oak-inflected finish. Became a bit characatured – one-noteish, fruit-bombish, more harshly tannic – as it breathed. (Buy again? Unlikely.)

Petite Sirah 2008, Napa Valley, Girard Winery ($34.00, 11604061)
89% old-vine Petite Sirah, 8% Zinfandel, 2% Mourvèdre and 1% Grenache. Fresh and lilting nose of raspberry and spice with a hint of chocolate. Upfront fruit saved from facileness by darker undertones, chewy tannins and structuring oak. Long but could use more zing on the finish. (Buy again? If I were a bigger fan of New World wines, probably.)

Petite Sirah 2007, Napa Valley, Stags’ Leap Winery ($56.00, 00349910)
More than three-quarters Petite Sirah blended with homeopathic amounts of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Pelousin and Viognier. Aged 18 months in American oak barrels. Evolving nose: chocolate napoleons then hazelnut then plum and cordovan leather. Less dense and fruit-driven than the Girard and Foppiano. Powerful – structure and tannins galore – yet civilized, even elegant. Long, herby/woody finish with lingering slate notes. Needs a decade or maybe two. (Buy again? Yes.)

Petite Sirah 2009, Green Truck, Mendocino County, Red Truck Wines ($16.35, 10985966)
Made from organically farmed grapes (79% Petite Sirah, 21% Merlot) though fermented with commercial yeasts. Sees only stainless steel up to bottling. Wood, plum, ink. Surprisingly rich and velvety, the sweet fruit underpinned by tannins and brightened by acidity. Pure, uncomplicated, easy-drinking and relatively low alcohol (13.5%). A great barbecue wine. (Buy again? Sure.)

True to their New World selves, all the Petite Sirahs were built around a core of sweet fruit. The big disappointment for me was the Foppiano. I’d picked it over other candidates at the price point because a decade or two ago, back when I used to buy the occasional bottle for personal consumption, it was made in a lighter, Pinot Noirish style.

Written by carswell

February 28, 2012 at 02:16

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

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