Monday, January 12, 2009

A Petite Sirah for a Petite Price

I love Petite Sirah--especially the big, luscious kind produced in California, with their fruity aromas and flavors of notes of chocolate and coffee.

Unfortunately many Petite Sirahs come with a hefty price tag--at least the ones that are worth drinking do.

I was thrilled, therefore, to find the 2005 Lot 205 Petite Sirah from Cartlidge & Brown. It's a very good QPR option if you like Petite Sirah but often find the cost is a bit too high for comfort. Available for between $9 and $12, this wine had jammy aromas of raspberry and blueberry compote. The palate was a touch leaner, with flavors of forest fruits and spices. The aftertaste had hints of mocha, which made this wine far above the norm when it comes to budget Petite Sirahs. As an added plus, this wine was lower in alcohol than many Petite Sirahs at 13.5% alc/vol.

This tasty, accessible wine would be perfect with any soup or stew. We had it with a triple-red pork stew, the official name of which is Ragout Prebonata. Pork and red wine, slowly cooked in the oven, was combined with a tomato and garlic sauce and sauteed red peppers cooked in a red wine reduction. It was delicious with this hearty red.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.


Loweeel said...

Dr. Debs,

Trust me when I say that there's plenty of good PS available at an entry level price!

2006 Concannon Limited release is my traditional "varietally correct" standby.

2005/6 Rosenblum Heritage Clones is a lovely wine with lots of blackberry liqueur, chocolate/mocha, and some white flowers and crushed white stone. Definitely New World, but not a fruit bomb!

Even the Greg Norman (got some at Trader Joe's) is pretty decent, and varietally correct as well. Plums for days.

I'm always happy to offer PS recommendations...

Anonymous said...

Guenoc makes two very good Petite Sirahs as well. Their "California" PS sells for $6-9, and their Lake County Estate PS sells for $14-19. The latter is consistently excellent from vintage to vintage.

Petite Sirah is far and away my favorite varietal, so several have appeared on my site at many price ranges.

Loweeel said...

I'm rather surprised to hear that. I've had nothing but bad experiences with recent vintages of Guenoc (at least since the ownership has changed), at least the Lake County. They were some of the earlier ones I got, as Costco used to carry them, and Trader Joe's still does.

I've found them to be very off-balance, a bit of decent plum/prunes, but buried under much too much acidity. Even decanting didn't help.

I enjoyed their 1990 vintage a few months ago (thanks to winebid), but the new stuff made by Langtry doesn't do it for me. And that's having tried 2 bottles of both the '04 and the '05.

At that price or less, there's a lot better stuff -- the Concannon and the Rosenblum being just the first two that come to mind.

But that's just my $0.02. It's entirely possible that both bottles I purchased in each vintage were cooked, but when I go 0/4 on PS, which doesn't happen much (Vinum PETS was the only other 0'fer, at 0/2), I'm inclined to attribute it to the winemaker, or at very least, their distributor's improper handling.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Concannon is mass-produced corporate juice with tons of bottle variation and liquid oak. If you like soda pop wine, then go for it.

It is true that there are value priced PS out there, but not all over-deliver.

I have had the Bogle PS and it is VERY GOOD. They are a family owned winery and they consistently make good wine, although the reality is it tends to be over-oaked for my taste.

I have had the Lot 205 and it is delicious--it is CLEAN, by which I mean not too much oak, not over-manipulated and true varietal flavor. Love it.

Watch out for Rosenblum, by the way. While they used to be a favorite for me, they were bought by Diagio last year--the world's largest wine company. They tend to dumb down the juice, mass produce and put it in grocery stores...I understand why the brothers of Rosenblum sold ($104 million!) but it is sad to me when a family's craft goes the way of mass production. Ultimately wine is an artisan can be affordable and still be artisan!!

Joe said...

Believe it or not, the LA Cetto is a decent (for the price) PS, from Mexico. LA Cetto's other varietals are suspect.