24 February, 2012

Petite Sirah Prep - Contrast Stags Leap and Ridge Dynamite Hill

 It's nice to have good friends.  With all the BrixChicks otherwise unavailable, I called upon one of my good friends to take up the burden of the extra ticket I found myself with for last week's "Dark and Delicious" event.  Ha! BrixChick stand in Marina jumped at the chance to swill  study a variety.  I thought it would be fun to survey two of my favorites and compare and contrast in advance, so she would have a background to better enjoy this distinctive grape.  So we nabbed some Mexican food we thought would make an interesting pairing and set to work.

'08 Stags Leap, Petite Sirah, Napa, California, USA: This is one of my go-to restaurant wines.  It came out inky dark and ready to drink.  Smooth flavors of black fruit with hints of spice, pepper, berry and a touch of dark chocolate. We found the wine immediately accessible all on its own, and it also tasted good with the meaty spiciness of our food.  Our new friend Jonesing for Wine had a bottle he hated that was an '07.  I found it interesting that he described it as vegetal, a quality to which I know my palate is very forgiving.  Still, I did not find notes I would describe as vegetal either in this sitting or in the Dark and Delicious offerings, so maybe Jonesy got a bad bottle.  Lucky us!  We liked this very much. We hope he will try again with a different vintage.

'04 Ridge, Dynamite Hill, Petite Sirah, Spring Moutain, Napa, California USA:  I have some more of this and I will certainly decant for at least an hour before I serve it.  As expected this had a dark purple color.  It had restrained aromas of dark fruit with a whisper of menthol and a smidge of butterscotch.  The initial flavors were black fruit with dark chocolate in the mid palate. Initially, I thought it was food slutty as it tasted okay (and by okay I mean inscrutable more than tasty) right out of the bottle on its own, but when paired with the steak tacos, YUM!  In combination with the food, the spice, black fruit and chocolate came up and it was markedly more tasty with food.  After about an hour, it had opened up and was tastier as well as complex.  Sort of like reading a Russian novel after you read the Cliff Notes.  Throughout the wine displayed subtle, pretty tannins.  It had been made with fruit that had been destemmed without crushing so that the seeds stayed gently encased in the pulp and skin as well as handled gently to tame the tannins.
It's hard to find, but worth getting.

Dark.  Delicious.  Petite Sirah.
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