François Durif was the French botanist responsible in 1860 for the cross pollination of two vines, Peloursin and Syrah. The result was Petite Sirah, although originally named Plant du Rif, it was called Durif a short while later. Durif did not perform well in France because the grapes grew small and in tight bunches. In a country that gets considerable summer rains, this does not bode well as bunch rot can be a serious problem. In California where our summers are quite dryer the bunches dry out quickly if there is a rain fall. Durif/Petite Sirah produces dark, ink colored wines with good acid and with good tannins due to the high ratio of skin to juice. These factors provide the wine with longevity. The wine typically has firm texture and mouth feel, with an herbal and black pepper bouquet, and flavors of black fruit, plums, and even blueberries.
2015 Cycles Gladiator Petite Sirah, Central Coast
List price 11.50; Our price 9.99
This bottling of 100% Petite Sirah shows blueberry on the nose with hints of cinnamon and cedar in the background. It is lush and sweet with layers of black fruits that fully coat your mouth. There is an impression of milk chocolate in the flavor profile that probably has to do with the soft oak tannins.
2013 San Simeon Petite Sirah, Paso Robles
List price 20.00; Our price 17.99
Here is a 93-point rating from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: “This is a wine for those who crave density and ripeness. Black currant, mint, fudge and burnt caramel aromas show powerfully on the nose, while the strong tannic frame leaps onto the palate to deliver caramel, milk chocolate and black cherry-syrup flavors. Roasted coffee and butterscotch touches lead into a long Cognac-like finish.”
2014 Earthquake Petite Sirah, Lodi
List price 24.00; Our price 19.99
Wine Enthusiast likes this wine as well (93 point rating): “A super dark color and effusive aromas of wood smoke, raisin and dried fig set the stage for extremely concentrated, ripe fruit on the palate and a thickly tannic texture. The exuberance of the grape and blackberry flavors nicely counterbalances the firm texture. This will age well, so best to drink it after 2020. Cellar Selection.”
2014 Two Angels Petite Sirah, Red Hills, Lake County
List price 25.00; Our price 19.99
The wine shows savory aromas of ripe blackberries, boysenberry, plum and black pepper. Abundant fruit flavors in this well-structured wine are nicely integrated with toasted oak. It is full bodied and well balanced with a wealth of fruit on the palate. The round, soft tannins add silkiness to the long and luxurious finish.
2013 Trinitas Petite Sirah Old Vine, Countra Costa County
List price 29.00; Our price 22.95
The color is highly extracted from the grapes of 100+ year old vines. This wine represents a excellent value for a full-bodied wine. The nose offers dense aromatics of fruitcake, briar, vanilla, baking spices, and strawberry. The palate is dominated by jammy blackberry, with notes of espresso and spice. The palate is structured with complex layers of ripe dark fruit, dried cherry, persistent oak and a vanilla tinged finish.
2013 Opolo Vineyards Petite Sirah, Paso Robles
List price 29.00; Our price 25.99
This dark and bold wine shows blackberry, plum, coffee and black pepper, enhanced with rich velvety tannins.. As well it exhibits vanilla bean, black licorice and cherry. This is a full-bodied wine with firm tannins and a long finish. Drinkable now, but best if decanted for at least an hour, as is the case with most of the above wines.
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