Ahh, Petite Sirah, not Syrah and definitely not petite in flavor this grape is known as Durif in many parts of the world and while typically a blending grape in the right hands it can make a stand up and take notice wine. The ‘petite’ in the name refers to the small size of the grape which leads to a high skin to juice ratio and can result in some very tannic wine, but when done right Petite Sirah is delightfully different and an excellent choice for meals featuring beef.
The Ravenswood 2010 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah has the characteristic inky purple color in the glass, for those concerned about stained teeth beware, that comes with the territory. In keeping with the depth of color a nose of blackberry with a touch of blueberry pours up from the glass creating an expectation of weight and fruit in the mouth. Like the aroma the dominant flavor is blackberry, but with plum replacing blueberry and black pepper blending into a spicy tannic edge in the finish. While the anticipated weight didn’t come through in this wine like some other California Petite Sirah it did have the solid mid palate that makes this such a great blending grape and along with the scratchy, but not harsh tannins, oak and line of acidity the finish is perfect for pairing with food.
With the tannin and lack of palate touch points this may not be the best choice as a standalone wine, but if you are looking for a dinner wine this is well worth a taste. Beef would be the ideal match, grilled, roasted, braised, include rustic vegetables whatever your preference the fullness of the wine will stand up and complement without smothering your meal. It may be a bit much for lamb, but if you have some mutton this wine should not be ignored as a potential mate. Cheese, again look for something aged, a Blue or Gorgonzola would be interesting, but an aged Sharp Cheddar would be a personal preference. If you want a slightly milder flavor as a change of pace give aged Gouda a place on your cheese plate.
Historically Ravenswood provides us with good sound value for the price and this offering fits that profile. Available almost everywhere from grocery aisle to wine retailer expect to pay no more than $9 and typically $7 to $8 for a 750ml bottle. Recommendation? If you have not tried a Petite Sirah before pick up a bottle and give it a try, there are other labels out there you may want to check out that have more refinement, but for the money you won’t be disappointed with the 2010 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah.