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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Petit Sirah - May 20, 2009


We tried this week (5/20/09) PetiteSirah:

  1. Tayerle Troubadour RanchitaCanyonVnyd/SanMiguel/PasoRobles TW (Grenache/PS; 14.5%;
    www.TayerleWine.com) 2005
    : Dark color; strong strawberry/jammy/cranberry/blueberry slight
    gunflint/toasty/charred/oak nose; strong juicy/jammy/ripe/strawberry/Grenache bit toasty/oak
    flavor; soft/lush jammy/strawberry/Grenache finish w/ light tannins; speaks mostly of Grenache
    and not sure what the (?%) PS adds; a pretty Grenache but just that. $16.00
  2. Summerland PS WolffVnyd/EdnaVlly (#1557; 14.1%; 50 cs; www.SummerlandWine.com) 2005: Very dark/blackcolor; tart rather peppery/PS/licorice some blackberry interesting nose; tart rather peppery/PS/licorice/blackberry/cracked black pepper/pungent light toasty/oak flavor; long very peppery/cracked black pepper/blueberry/pungent/PS light oak finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs yet; lots of cracked black pepper character at a great price; great structure & acidity. $22.00
  3. Trinafour PS NiemiVnyd/MendoCnty (200cs; 14.7%) 2006: Black color; very strong toasty/Fr.oak/Ojai-likeripe blackberry/boysenberry/PS/licorice/juicy very strong/lush nose; soft/lush/ mouthfilling blackberry/boysenberry/juicy/licorice some toasty/Fr.oak pretty tannic flavor; very long/ mouthfilling tannic/structured ripe/juicy/boysenberry/blackberry/spicy light toasty/oak finish; needs another 2-6 yrs;one of the best Mendo PSs in a long while along the lines of the old Milano ones but w/ more juicy fruit and less oak. Well worth $27.00
  4. Martella PetiteSirah HeartArrowRanch/Mendocino (14.8%; www.MichaelMartella.com; BioDynamic)
    : Black color; rather fumey/alcoholic some menthol/eucalyptus rather licorice bit earthy nose; soft/
    fat/porky rather hot/fumey/alcoholic light menthol slight blackberry flavor; med. soft/fat rather hot/
    fumey slight licorice/menthol finish w/ light tannins; too fumey/alcoholic/over the top for me. $33.00
  5. T-Vine NapaVlly PS (14.1%; 680 cs; www.TVineCellars.com) 2006: Black color; strong peppery/blackberry/boysenberry/spicy/licorice light pungent/oak nose; soft/fat rather tannic blackberry/boysenberry/licorice/PS/spicy some tannic flavor; med. soft/fat rather tannic strong blackberry/boysenberry/licorice light pungent/oak finish; bit soft & fat but plenty of PS fruit and ample tannins; needs 3-6 yrs. $36.00
  6. Marietta AlexanderVlly PetiteSirah (15.7%; www.MariettaCellars.com) 2003: Very dark color; pleasant bit simple light blackberry/licorice/pungent bit fumey/alcoholic light vanilla/oak nose; soft/flat low-fruit/licorice light vanilla/Am.oak rather simple/dull/clunky flavor; med.short bit chalky some hot/alcoholic
    sparse fruit/licorice vanilla/oak finish w/ light tannins; a bit on the dull/simple side; an Oakland wine..
    there's no there there. $19.50
  7. Ridge Calif PS DynamiteHill/YorkCreekVnyds/SpringMtn (14.6%; 40 brls; Drk: 4/11-4/16: EB/PD)
    Very dark/black color; strong blackberry/licorice/spicy some toasty/smokey/pungent/ oak/ DraperPerfumesome complex/spicy nose; tart pretty tannic fairly rich/lushpeppery/licorice/PS/ blackberry/spicy rather toasty/smokey/oak/DP flavor; long lush/rich licorice/peppery/blackberry/PS some smokey/oak/DP finish w/ample tannins; a bit on the rustic/rough side but structured and you have to believe that this will develop into something really/really good; takes a bit of a leap of faith. $32.00
  8. Ridge Calif PS DynamiteHill (YorkCreekVnyd/SpringMtnDist; 13.5%; Drk: 8/09-8/10-8/20-
    8/25) 2003
    : Very dark color; rather more DP/smokey/pungent some dusty/old vines bit less licorice/ peppery/blackberry/PS fruit nose; leaner/harder/more tannic/tighter some licorice/PS/peppery/blackberry bit dusty/old vines flavor; long rather hard/tannic/tight strong smokey/pungent/oak/DP lighter blackberry/ peppery/PS/spicy finish; more DP and harder/tighter than the '04; needs age badly.$30.00 (ATP)
  9. Ridge Calif YorkCreek PS (6% Zin; SpringMtn/NapaVlly; 13.4%; Bttld: April'00;
    Drk: 3/00-3/05-3/10: PD) 1998
    : Dark color; somewhat musty/TCA/wet cardboard slight peppery/roasted/smokey rather hammered-down nose; soft slight peppery/roasted/smokey rather musty/TCA/wet cardboard flavor; rather hard/tannic short musty/TCA slight smokey/roasted finish; still can glimpse some good things in this wine but it's pretty hammered down by the TCA; too bad, should be spectacular. $25.00
  10. Ridge Calif Geyserville PetiteSirah (100% PS; 14.5%; 31 brls; Drk: 1/98-1/08: PD) 1996: Dark color w/slight bricking; beautiful/complex/roasted/smokey/pungent very Rhonish light licorice very slight
    blackberry/PS/spicy/licorice nose; smooth/elegant/balanced strong roasted/smokey/pungent/coffee/ mocha rather Rhonish slight licorice/spicy very complex flavor; very long roasted/smokey/pungent/ mocha/Rhonish slight spicy/licorice very complex finish w/ smooth/resolved/balanced tannins; a beautiful PS with lots of smokey/Rhonish character and probably at its peak. $28.00
  11. Ridge Calif PS YorkCreekRanch/SpringMtn (13.5%; Drk: 7/91-7/92: PD) 1984: Dark color w/ some bricking; lovely low-key/gentle smokey/pungent/pencilly/cedary/oak rather complex/elegant nose; soft smooth/gentle quite cedary/pencilly/old Cab/old Zin slight licorice/peppery some complex flavor; long delicate/elegant/smooth strong cedary/pencilly/old Zin/complex slight spicy/licorice finish w/ light/smooth tannins; still very much alive and a lovely/gentle old lady of a wine that you just know was once a pretty hot chick; not at all dried out or tired. $11.00
  12. Carlisle NapaVlly PetiteSirah PalisadesVnyd (15.0%; 115 cs; 40 yr old vnyd) 2007: Black color; very
    intense boysenberry/blackberry/peppery/PS/spicy/milk of magnesia/licorice/huge fruit rather toasty/ pungent/oak nose; soft huge fruit/boysenberry/blackberry/PS licorice/spicy/pungent slight herbal/dusty/ old vines toasty/pungent/oak pretty tannic flavor; very long intense blackberry/boysenberry/licorice/PS strong pungent/toasty/oak finish w/ ample tannins; needs more age; killer young PS. $40.75

And pontifications from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Summerland: I've not been terribly impressed w/ the Summerland wines...a bit on the quotidian side I would say...a bit over-the-top at times. I was interested in this PS as I'd not recalled having
any PS from EdnaVlly. This wine was easily the best Summerland wine I've yet had and a very/very
good PS in its own right. I sometimes get a slightly peppery character in PS, not necessarily associated with a cold-climate growing. This EdnaVlly PS had maybe the strongest cracked black pepper character I've yet had in a PS.
2. Trinafour: I'm always on the prowl for new MendoCnty wineries because, other than the AndersonVlly, and Eaglepoint, the wineries up there have been underperformers for a number of yrs. Yet they have some great vnyds there in the UkiahVlly. This Trinafour was a new one for me and I can't find out any info on them out there in CyberSpace. It was one of the best MendoCnty PS's (save the Eaglepoints) I've had in yrs...since those long-ago days of yesteryear when Milano was making some killer wines. They also make an old vine Carignane that I'd love.
3. Ridge Petites: I sometimes get a bit frustrated by the Ridge Petites. When I try them right out the gate, they are usually underwhelming and don't have a whole lot of exhuberent fruit to them. This is in contrast, I would opine, than the '71 YorkCreek PS, which was absolutely spectacular upon release and went on to live many & many a year and became one of the greatest Calif red wines I've ever had. The younger Ridge PSs always seem rather tight & tannic and seldom offer up much immediate appeal. And they're not particularly massive wines in their youth. They just seem a bit raw-boned and sinewey and very structured. But you just have to sorta accept, a bit on blind faith, that Draper knows what he's doing with the variety. And certainly my experience has been that they usually develop into pretty terrific examples of Calif PS. You taste something like this Geyserville '96 and then this light comes on and now you understand. Sometimes.....you just gotta believe.
4. Carlisle: This is MikeOfficer's first PalisadesVnyd PS, a grape source he's lusted for for quite a few
yrs. It's one of the best NapaVlly PSs I had in a number of yrs, along the lines of the JacobFranklin or Biale Petites. It is loaded w/ PS fruit that you don't often get in Petite. It's a terrific Petite.
That said.....I find his Petites from Sonoma/DryCreekVlly and YorkvilleHighlands somewhat more
interesting PSs. They just seem to have more interesting things going on in them. It'll be interesting to see if I still hold this view down the road.


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