Earthquake Petite Sirah 2003

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Just yesterday I decided to take part in “Wine Blogging Wednesday” ( since the theme of the week happened to be petite sirah, which is one of my favourite ‘underdog’ varietals. I got into petite sirah when I took a trip to Napa last summer and I discovered that many of the smaller wineries were producing an inky, powerful, and yet amazingly structured little wine from a varietal I had only seen used in blending. During my trip I discovered great petite sirahs from Miner, Arroyo, Broken Spur and the grand daddy of them all: David Fulton. After my trip I got so excited about the varietal that, even though I brought back maybe 4 bottles of the stuff, I spent the next several weeks seeking out every petite sirah I could in the city. This bottle is a result of that treck and I have been meaning to try it for some time.

This wine hails from the Lodi Appellation in California and has a wonderfully intense nose that explodes from the glass – having intensity a good 30 cm above the Riedel Cab Sauv glass I used to drink this out of. I would describe the flavours as consisting of chocolate, plum, loads of dark red berry, and slightly burnt caramalized fruit (which I find characteristic of my favourite petite sirahs). This is quite smooth given the high alcohol content (15.5%), but the fruit finishes with a bit of gooseberry, which isn’t what I like wines to finish with, as I think the bitterness takes away from the ‘upward’ development of the wine. Also, I find that the structure is a bit all over the place and the wine could use a lot more balance between the fruit, oak, and tannin. I have read critiques of the petite sirah varietal as being generally unstructured, even if powerful and flavourful. I think, though, that in the hands of a master a petite sirah can be very refined and balanced. I don’t know much about wine making, but I imagine that making a superb petite sirah might be a test of a winemaker’s skills since so few bottles show the potential of the best I’ve had.

However, overall this is a well above average petite sirah and a very good example of the varietal, even if there are others out there that take it to another level. A bit expensive in Canada, I think it’s a decent price in the US. However, overall this is a bit over-priced for what you get. I still had a lot of fun drinking it, though.

$50 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars
Very Good+


  1. Sonadora
    December 13, 2007

    Welcome to WBW! I’m happy you chose to participate, and keep up the good work on the blog. I hope law school isn’t bogging you down too much, I was there not too long ago!

  2. Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
    December 14, 2007

    Wow. That wine was $50?! One year later it’s still overpriced at $28 (US). I found the Earthquake to be too alcoholic, too extracted, too engineered. And it doesn’t play well with others. $50…I still can’t get over that. Wow.

  3. Shea
    December 14, 2007

    Seeing that $50 price you can understand that BC has perhaps the highest alcohol taxes in the world. We have to pay around 100% over most US prices.

    Did you have the 2003 Earthquake? I thought it was a lot less alcoholic than it could have been, but I can imagine if it were a year younger that this may not be the case. I can definitely understand your other criticisms, though.

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