A Petite Sirah Tasting in Honour of My 100th Post

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Astonishingly I have managed to post 100 notes on this site since its inception. I created this site with the same simply desire as many to just provide a space for my personal notes that a few others might also enjoy reading and debating. I wasn’t sure if it would last, but the fact I’ve made it to 100 in only a few months is good assurance that I will continue!

So I had this tasting a couple weeks ago in support of summer and BBQ’s. I pulled together a couple friends to taste one wine from Napa, one from Sonoma, and one from Barossa. Given my feelings that this varietal is undersung, this was a good chance to share the love and see if I still liked petite sirah as much as I used to. Ultimately, I have yet to had an expression of this varietal that fully blows me away; yet, there are also many very strong examples that work very well when paired with the right food. We had beef ribs, lamb and beef souvlaki to pair with these wines.
Wine #1: Foppiano Petite Sirah 2004
This wine is made from grapes sourced in the Russian River Valley. Foppiano also helped to champion Petite Sirah as a worthy single varietal wine. This had large fruit flavours like raspberry and red berries. A bit rough around the edges, but very big and a very authentic expression of fruit.
Very Good+
$20 in USD
Wine #2: Elyse Petite Sirah 2005
The Napa selection: chcolate, blackberry, cherry and blueberry. This was thick and full-bodied. A touch manipulated, but done well.
$40 at Marquis
Wine #3: Massena Howling Dog Durif 2004
Not typical for Petite Sirah, at least none of the ones I’ve tasted. Perhaps this is the unique terroir of Barossa. This was much tarter and more acidic than petite sirah normally is. A high-boned structure well poised for the proper food pairing. Blackberry tartness and a long finish.
$55 ($35 on sale) at Marquis


  1. Joe
    June 19, 2008

    I visited Elyse when I visited Napa in Oct. 2006 – manipulated is a perfect word. Quality, but over the top quality – highly recommended by all of the locals, though.

  2. Shea
    June 20, 2008

    Ya everything I have from them has that slightly fake taste to it – taking something out of the terroir by lots of fancy techniques. But it still manages to taste good.

  3. Edward
    June 20, 2008


    Congratulations on the the 100! Excellent notes, on an enviable range of wines. I am particularly fond of the perspective you bring.

    Well done.

  4. Shea
    June 21, 2008

    Thanks! I always appreciate your comments and advice. You’ve certainly put me on to a number of excellent bottles.

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