Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

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Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#1 Post by Michael S. Monie » May 20th, 2015, 7:52 am

I have a case of 2004 Rosenblum "Heritage Clones" Petit Sirah which was purchased upon release. I remember buying and drinking a test bottle before making the case purchase. I pulled one the other day and was surprised to find how primary this 11 year old wine remained. Nothing at all objectionable; it was just like drinking grape juice. I'm thinking that the remaining bottles really don't justify the storage space. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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#2 Post by Chris Seiber » May 20th, 2015, 8:13 am

It tends to be, though I think there are better examples than that one which develop more character, particularly from the often overripe 04 vintage. I had an 07 Carlisle Dry Creek recently which was in a great spot, but I agree that great complexity and tertiary development is not really the calling card of petite sirah.

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#3 Post by Gary York » May 20th, 2015, 8:18 am

Yes, some of the most uninteresting wines around.
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#4 Post by Jeff Vaughan » May 20th, 2015, 8:24 am

Michael S. Monie wrote: Nothing at all objectionable; it was just like drinking grape juice.
Personally, I'd find that objectionable.
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#5 Post by Dusty Gillson » May 20th, 2015, 8:55 am

In most instances I do find them one-noted. Similar to my feelings for Brunello. The only Petit Sirah that I can remember being a notable exception was an 85' York Creek PS from Ridge. The Brunellos I've had seem to be monolithic until they fall apart, I'm sure there are exceptions there too, but the hunt continues.
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#6 Post by Mark B » May 20th, 2015, 9:04 am

It's usually a decent wine and more often than not it is competently made. Still, I find little interest in the grape itself.
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#7 Post by David K o l i n » May 20th, 2015, 9:06 am

I don't drink much petite syrah other than Sean Thackrey's wines, which I enjoy very much

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#8 Post by Nolan E » May 20th, 2015, 9:22 am

Hard to typecast any single variety. I've had wonderfully elegant, restrained Petite Sirah and I've had ones that drink like Hershey syrup.
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#9 Post by Richard T r i m p i » May 20th, 2015, 9:26 am

There's a group supporting the grape: PS I Love You

I've had older versions of Ridge York Creek that I very much enjoyed. Unti did an intriguing 2007. I believe Dashe is doing some restrained examples.

Many versions are monstrous and monolithic, probably because that's what most people expect.

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#10 Post by Evan Pontoriero » May 20th, 2015, 9:39 am

We used to get some from Grist on Bradford Mountain when it got ripe. We would use it as a blender. Caymus now is taking the whole block so I'm interested to see what they are going to do with it. I've liked Turley's PS from Hayne and Rattlesnake, they just take a long time.
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#11 Post by PeterH » May 20th, 2015, 10:16 am

Approximately .0005% of my cellar contents are Petit Sirah, and that was a gift. Aside from finding no definition, layers, or interesting aromas, I usually detect an unpleasant metallic edge.

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#12 Post by Chris Seiber » May 20th, 2015, 10:29 am

Evan Pontoriero wrote:We used to get some from Grist on Bradford Mountain when it got ripe. We would use it as a blender. Caymus now is taking the whole block so I'm interested to see what they are going to do with it.
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#13 Post by Joe B » May 20th, 2015, 10:48 am

Not yet. Mine are not old enough yet to try.
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#14 Post by larry schaffer » May 20th, 2015, 10:51 am

PS is certainly a 'polarizing' variety and one that has historically been known as a blender because of its 'monolithic' character. There are a few known challenges with this grape:

1) It is not as hardy as seem would tend to make out it is. It ripens extremely late and tends to have very tight clusters. Any moisture near the end of harvest leads to rot and mold.

2) To me, it has been planted in areas where it does not get ripe enough to soften some of the tannins and allow for better fruit expression.

3) Too much new American oak is often applied to try to 'soften' it and give it a 'vanilla' overlay . . .

I continue to dig the variety and use it on its own as well as in a blend with Syrah that I call The Climb.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - get some of this:

Jaffurs' Thompson Vineyard PS - one of the best QPR's out there for top notch PS

Yep, the PS I LOVE YOU organization is wonderful and Jo Diaz is a saint. If you like the variety, or want to know more about it, click on that link.

Cheers!
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#15 Post by Michael S. Monie » May 20th, 2015, 12:35 pm

Evan Pontoriero wrote:We used to get some from Grist on Bradford Mountain when it got ripe. We would use it as a blender. Caymus now is taking the whole block so I'm interested to see what they are going to do with it. I've liked Turley's PS from Hayne and Rattlesnake, they just take a long time.
I understand that Caymus buys some Cabernet from Lewelling. I wonder if it is used in their Special Selection.
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#16 Post by Ken V » May 20th, 2015, 12:48 pm

I have over 400 bottles of PS in my cellar, 3rd most after Nebbiolo and Riesling. I love it young (20 years or less) with hearty food, esp. anything grilled and sauced. Between 20 and 40 years of age, it develops amazing subtly and complexity. You just need patience. Of course, these are generalizations. YMMV.
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#17 Post by ky1em!ttskus » May 20th, 2015, 1:00 pm

Kent Rasmussen has said that PS goes through a "dumb phase" and when it emerges, it's full of nuance and complexity. IIRC, he opined that this phase is between 10 and 20, which jives with what Ken is saying. Similarly, a generality of course, but just another data point. I'll try to track down KR's posts.

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#18 Post by larry schaffer » May 20th, 2015, 1:02 pm

Kyle,

It could be - or that could just be an explanation to purchase now and hold the wine :-)

I think many reds 'go through' the same thing if they are big and tannic as young wines - some 'emerge' better for the time held, and some don't . . . and my guess is that's what you'd find with some PS's.

Just my $.02 . . .
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#19 Post by ky1em!ttskus » May 20th, 2015, 1:05 pm

Found it. It's long:

It seems to me that Petite Sirah is one of the most interesting wines when it comes to the issue of aging and drinking. Young PS is big, rich, usually pretty tannic and above all full of luscious fruit. Funnily enough, unlike a Cab. Sauv., even though they are structurally huge, they are still very drinkable when they are young—mostly because of the charm of all the wonderful fruit. Once a PS is about 10-15 years old it usually starts to go through a “dumb” phase as it loses it’s fruit, but then when they get really old – 20-25 years they come around again like no other wine I have ever had….wonderful rich Bordeaux-like complexity…tons of that cedar-cigar box character that you always associate with really nice old clarets. So my recommend is drink them young or let them sit forever—most PS have the structure to handle the age.
What made me “an expert” on old PS: A few years ago there was a small wine shop in the San Francisco Bay Area that bought people’s cellars. He also bought our wine, but unfortunately, while the fellow who ran the shop was a nice guy, he didn’t pay his bills. One day I was in the shop (collecting a bill) and he had dozens of bottles from the late 1960s to about 1980 of California PS on a table…I said…why? And he told me that when he resold the wine he bought from collections he could never get anyone to take the PS. I made a deal with him that we would trade a bottle of our wine for a bottle of PS…he got something he could sell and I got paid. Over the course of the next year or so (before the IRS caught him) we traded about a hundred bottles and Celia and I had old old PS for dinner several nights each week. These were the great old fathers of PS…Concannon, Burgess, Freemark Abbey, Ridge, and so on. Other than an occasional corky bottle we never had a single one that was “over the hill”. It was a treat and a rare opportunity to learn about old PS.

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#20 Post by Michael S. Monie » May 20th, 2015, 1:17 pm

It's funny how grapes like P.S. and Zinfandel take on "Bordeaux like complexity" with age. Of course with Zinfandel one need not wait 20-25 years.
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#21 Post by TomHill » May 20th, 2015, 3:31 pm

Michael S. Monie wrote:I have a case of 2004 Rosenblum "Heritage Clones" Petit Sirah which was purchased upon release. I remember buying and drinking a test bottle before making the case purchase. I pulled one the other day and was surprised to find how primary this 11 year old wine remained. Nothing at all objectionable; it was just like drinking grape juice. I'm thinking that the remaining bottles really don't justify the storage space. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Well, Michael.....if you sell me the remaining btls at your cost...I'll make sure they show up on CC before long!!! [snort.gif]

I find that PS can be very erratic in its aging curve. It, typically, doesn't have a whole lot of fruit when young. It can, often, be pretty monolithic
as it ages and never develop much of interest until it starts to dry out & get on the tired side. I find that to be pretty typical.

This was just before Kent sold off Rosenblum wnry (and his name and his reputation) to Diageo. Many of his wines were pretty overripe, alcoholic, and over-the-top
during that period.
But...othertimes...it can evolve into something very/very interesting. The Ridge YorkCreek PS '71 I drank in the early '90's was one of the
greatest Calif red wines I every had.

I regard Calif PS as a sabre fencer...on the oafish/clunky/orangatang side. But sometimes they show some actual skill & talent..but not often.

Tom
Last edited by TomHill on May 20th, 2015, 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Yup...

#22 Post by TomHill » May 20th, 2015, 3:34 pm

larry schaffer wrote: I've said it before and I'll say it again - get some of this:
Jaffurs' Thompson Vineyard PS - one of the best QPR's out there for top notch PS
Yup, Larry....easily one of the best PS's made in Calif. And a steal at around $30/btl. And ages just fine...thank you.
If you ever come upon the very rare "Archibald Cuvee" of this wine...you should jump on it.

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#23 Post by Wes Barton » May 20th, 2015, 3:46 pm

Old school PS would take decades to come around. More recently people have figured out how to tame the grape, bring more out of it, make it approachable young.

I'd guess that Rosenblum is just at a boring in-between phase and will develop nicely. That doesn't mean you need to hold onto 11 bottles. Maybe bury 3 at revisit one in a decade, offload the rest.

Man, that Unti mention above has me wanting to try one. I've been impressed with everything out of their vineyard, and their own winemaking is spot-on. I need to buy more Unti.
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#24 Post by Robert B. » May 20th, 2015, 4:22 pm

What a great thread. I am taking some notes.
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#25 Post by Chris D » May 20th, 2015, 4:40 pm

Zichichi in Dry Creek also makes a very nice PS, worth checking out. Agree they can all be somewhat one dimensional young, the ripe fruit hides a lot of its other character - but as the baby fat burns off, will reveal a pretty complex wine.
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#26 Post by Evan Pontoriero » May 20th, 2015, 4:52 pm

IDK Chris. I would find it hard to get Grist fruit to make that kind of wine. The Grist Petite can be pretty spectacular when it gets ripe. It just doesn't do it that often. Even in the years that the sugars jump, the Grist fruit remains bright and the natural structural acidity is fantastic. That goes for the Zin and the OV Syrah in spades. BUT I guess anything is possible.
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LimerickLane '13???

#27 Post by TomHill » May 20th, 2015, 5:33 pm

Anybody yet tried the new LimerickLane PS '13??? Made w/ 100% whole-cluster (rare for PS). Scot recommends
it for early drinking...unusual for PS.
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#28 Post by Drew Goin » May 20th, 2015, 9:01 pm

I have a bottle of Limerick Lane Petite Sirah 2013 that I will probably pop soon. The vinification method fascinated me.

I have had some good PS that was not 40 years old. I guess that some will remain Welch's Concord Grape Juice, and some will offer earthy, coffee - type flavors. I remember tasting a Messina Barossa Valley Durif that was the spitting image profile-wise for a grape Popsicle dropped in the dirt. I stuck the cork in the bottle, and, low and behold, two months later, found it in my bar cabinet. I didn't have the cajones to taste it, but the aroma was exactly the same.

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#29 Post by Bud Carey » May 20th, 2015, 9:03 pm

I've got a bunch of Switchback Ridge PS in my cellar... and they usually start singing with about 8 - 10 years of age on them.
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#30 Post by Paul H Galli » May 20th, 2015, 10:01 pm

TomHill wrote: The Ridge YorkCreek PS '71 I drank in the early '90's was one of the
greatest Calif red wines I every had.
Tom
Tom,
IMO, the greatest CA red wine in my experience.
I used to own a case of this wine.
Wished I had kept one.... [cry.gif]
If anyone has a bottle of the 1971 Ridge, I have a companion bottle of the 1971 Freemark Abbey PS from York Creek. A battle of the Titans?

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#31 Post by Jeff Berger » May 21st, 2015, 1:07 am

I would recommend Aaron Wines out of Paso. Don't have much experience with PS but was very impressed with his juice. Curious if any of you PS drinkers have tried them and what you think.

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#32 Post by dougwilder » May 21st, 2015, 1:22 am

My approach has been to either drink upon release or after 15 years. Experience has shown a dumb phase for this variety somewhere in between, Having said that I am currently pondering a baffling example of a 2012 from Paso Robles that isn't showing me anything.
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#33 Post by David K o l i n » May 21st, 2015, 5:44 am

Paul H Galli wrote:
TomHill wrote: The Ridge YorkCreek PS '71 I drank in the early '90's was one of the
greatest Calif red wines I every had.
Tom
Tom,
IMO, the greatest CA red wine in my experience.
I used to own a case of this wine.
Wished I had kept one.... [cry.gif]
If anyone has a bottle of the 1971 Ridge, I have a companion bottle of the 1971 Freemark Abbey PS from York Creek. A battle of the Titans?

TTT

A great, great wine. I have neither left [cry.gif]

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#34 Post by Philip N. Jones » May 21st, 2015, 7:04 pm

The original post referenced the 2004 Rosenblum Heritage Clones Petite Sirah. When it first came out, the Parker bulletin board went crazy over it. It was delicious and very reasonably priced. I bought a ton of it, both in 750s and 375s. I loved it. My friends loved it. My friends kept begging me to bring it whenever we went out to dinner. It was fabulous. And The Bob predicted that it would drink well until 2023. I was set for life whenever I wanted a dark, inky, great PS. Imagine my contentment.
But then . . . about a year or two ago . . . it started going bad, long before Bob predicted. Very disappointing. I still have about a case of the 750s and a case of the 375s. The only good news is that I didn't pay much for it.
So perhaps if the original poster is using that particular wine as a benchmark, perhaps he should look elsewhere. I still think that a good PS is very very nice.
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#35 Post by Fred Daniels » May 21st, 2015, 11:20 pm

PS has been one of our favorite grapes from the very beginning (just celebrated our 20th anniversary) and we'd drink Stags' Leap Winery PS from the seventies and eighties like it was going out of style. We started collecting them in earnest in the late 1990s but it was about then that SLW started losing some of its legacy vineyards that made up these great bottles, both via phylloxera and loss of lease and I think the wine thinned out too much for those that are looking for the big earlier wines. Turley took it to another level but must retry some of our 94s and 95s after reading recent notes. We always pair it with big meat dishes or the cheese course...it's one of the few reds that can stand up to all sorts of cheeses.

Some of our favorites: Stags' Leap and Ne Cede Malis, Ridge and some great ATP bottling, the rare Larkmead 1975, Turley. We had high hopes for Quixote and Carver Sutro but the jury is still out. Outpost and Rosenblum have also been good.

The older wines sometimes took on this great "redvine" taste (like the red licorice) and also seemed to drink like 7 or 8 year old wines when they were 30.

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#36 Post by Leonard Maran » May 22nd, 2015, 12:39 am

I've had some very nice really older Petite's from Ridge and Freemark Abbey. But the current attraction to the wines remind me of the cult following that Charbono once had. It is a common variety, the Durif. It can be very tannic and broad shouldered when young. It can age for a very long time but IMHO, for the most part, it doesn't evolve nor become more complex with time. It can taste chalky which I don't like. Give me a superb Zinfandel (which has a good deal more fruit) or a Zinfandel Field blend, with Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, and Carignane.

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#37 Post by Michael S. Monie » May 22nd, 2015, 4:02 am

Philip N. Jones wrote:The original post referenced the 2004 Rosenblum Heritage Clones Petite Sirah. When it first came out, the Parker bulletin board went crazy over it. It was delicious and very reasonably priced. I bought a ton of it, both in 750s and 375s. I loved it. My friends loved it. My friends kept begging me to bring it whenever we went out to dinner. It was fabulous. And The Bob predicted that it would drink well until 2023. I was set for life whenever I wanted a dark, inky, great PS. Imagine my contentment.
But then . . . about a year or two ago . . . it started going bad, long before Bob predicted. Very disappointing. I still have about a case of the 750s and a case of the 375s. The only good news is that I didn't pay much for it.
So perhaps if the original poster is using that particular wine as a benchmark, perhaps he should look elsewhere. I still think that a good PS is very very nice.
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#38 Post by Bob Hunnicutt » May 22nd, 2015, 3:05 pm

For some wines the majority are very good wines, for some grapes the majority aren't That's why some aren't so popular. Recently had a CA Carignane and a Petit Verdot to remind myself, "Yeah, that's why this shit ain't very popular."

Occasionally had good PS, but most are either turned into syrup or are like sucking on a sweat sock.
(Not Hunnicutt Winery BTW)

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#39 Post by Ian Brand » May 22nd, 2015, 4:44 pm

Bob Hunnicutt wrote:For some wines the majority are very good wines, for some grapes the majority aren't That's why some aren't so popular. Recently had a CA Carignane and a Petit Verdot to remind myself, "Yeah, that's why this shit ain't very popular."

Occasionally had good PS, but most are either turned into syrup or are like sucking on a sweat sock.
So this is pretty interesting for me. Per the two varieties you mentioned, I have yet to see a Carignane that makes sense to me as a varietal wine, especially as young vines, but as a base wine it makes a lot of sense -- nice fruit, spicy, carries crop without complaint. On the flip side, I rarely find a Petit Verdot that I love on its own, but it's one of the most useful things in the cellar when making blends. A little can take a wine from nice to excellent in many situations, and it plays well with other big dark varieties at larger portions in interesting ways.

We make a varietal Petite Sirah for our P'tit Paysan line (fitting?). We focus on making really utilitarian wines there, i.e. wines that are easy to have on your table but aren't simple or silly -- save the goofy packaging. Our lighter red is Grenache based, and it's easy to riff on southern rhone constructions in our climate. Finding the 'southeastern France' sister to the Grenache based wine was more difficult because we aren't sitting on a lot of Tannat in great locales, for instance, and what there is isn't coming in at prices where you can make the wine I'd like to.

Enter Petite Sirah, which is fairly widely planted and well priced even in good vineyards locally. We get ours off of two Pierce Ranch blocks, one with a lot of limestone, the other heavily granitic, pick it shy of 22 brix, ferment it whole berry with a quarter-ish whole cluster at mid-80's and hit maybe 5% new oak in the final blend. It makes this really attractive, dark, well structured but not obtrusive, really food/user-friendly red wine. We've had consistent 90+ scores for the last three vintages from just about everybody we sent it to on a low-$20s red wine with low alcohol. Perfect, right? Sure, except that because it says Petite Sirah on the label, it is the only wine we make that we don't worry about running short on supply. I think that says a lot about how it has been presented, but as a dark red country wine from the right hands, it's perfect, unassuming, consistent, not terribly beguiling but solid. Always solid. That's my 2 cents as a winemaker, anyway.
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Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#40 Post by Craig G » May 22nd, 2015, 9:28 pm

Ken V wrote:I have over 400 bottles of PS in my cellar
Maybe you can take all of them and make one of these:
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Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#41 Post by Bob Hunnicutt » May 23rd, 2015, 9:52 am

Ian Brand wrote:
Bob Hunnicutt wrote:For some wines the majority are very good wines, for some grapes the majority aren't That's why some aren't so popular. Recently had a CA Carignane and a Petit Verdot to remind myself, "Yeah, that's why this shit ain't very popular."

Occasionally had good PS, but most are either turned into syrup or are like sucking on a sweat sock.
So this is pretty interesting for me.

Wasn't meaning to offend anybody. I have bought PS before, but rarely do I find one I love and isn't over-priced. Someone mentioned Zichichi of Dry Creek and I loved their PS, but not 50 bucks worth. Generally, Carignane, PV, and PS are better in blends. JMO I feel the same way about Syrah, but saying that will just lead to more issues. lol
(Not Hunnicutt Winery BTW)

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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#42 Post by Adam Frisch » January 11th, 2020, 5:21 am

I've never had much luck with PS. In fact, the very opposite. What would be a good, fresher, lower alcohol producer in CA?
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#43 Post by Mattstolz » January 11th, 2020, 5:34 am

Adam Frisch wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 5:21 am
I've never had much luck with PS. In fact, the very opposite. What would be a good, fresher, lower alcohol producer in CA?
dang thread back from the grave! but have you tried Hardy's Maple PS with Dirty and Rowdy?

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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#44 Post by Adam Frisch » January 11th, 2020, 5:48 am

Good tip! I like Hardy and his philosophies, but $60 for the PS gives me a little pause, gotta be honest.... [blink.gif]
Last edited by Adam Frisch on January 11th, 2020, 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#45 Post by Larry Chmel » January 11th, 2020, 5:56 am

Try Aaron in Paso Robles. Small producer with good ps and ps blends.

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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#46 Post by Wes Barton » January 11th, 2020, 12:04 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 5:21 am
I've never had much luck with PS. In fact, the very opposite. What would be a good, fresher, lower alcohol producer in CA?
As I mentioned upthread, the 3 from Theopolis Vineyard are excellent: Theopolis, Halcon, Highlawn. Differing takes that are all savory and open, and reward a few years aging.

The new Ridge Vineyards ones I've had have had a lightness and openness to them (so, people complain they aren't monolithic...)

Odonata makes a nice soft one.

An eye-opener was a one-off from Savannah-Chanelle from way the f&%# up in Manton Valley. Served blind, it came across as some wonderful Italian wine, tannins tamed by the volcanic soil, and lovely aromatics. Since we were getting CF from up there and talking about getting some Italian grapes grafted, I was begging Bryan to get some PS from there as a benchmark. Like, "Let's do a 26th wine, which will be a pain to sell. It's only a 4 hour drive each way for you. Pleeeeeease?????" Well, there are (at least) two growers with massive quantities of it for dirt cheap.
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#47 Post by GregP » January 11th, 2020, 1:08 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
May 20th, 2015, 10:51 am

2) To me, it has been planted in areas where it does not get ripe enough to soften some of the tannins and allow for better fruit expression.

3) Too much new American oak is often applied to try to 'soften' it and give it a 'vanilla' overlay . . .
2 very key points that so many seem to miss. Wineries as well. There was a lengthy PS thread last year, IIRC. I collect PS from only 2 areas, Calistoga and St. Helena, in that order. For the reason 2 you listed above. PS needs heat, period. Yes, I have some from outside of Calistoga and St. Helena in my 20+ year old PS stash by now, but they are exceptions to me, not a rule. Lodi, depending on producer, can produce good PS, but so may simply kill it with American oak, your point 3 above.
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#48 Post by John Morris » January 11th, 2020, 1:34 pm

Dusty Gillson wrote:
May 20th, 2015, 8:55 am
The only Petit Sirah that I can remember being a notable exception was an 85' York Creek PS from Ridge.
There were some other vintages of that bottling that evolved very nicely over ten years or so. I always thought of it being in a class of its own. Haven't had one in a long time, though.
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#49 Post by Arv R » January 11th, 2020, 5:22 pm

When I'm a stranger in a strange land, and the pickings for vino are slim, I usually can't go wrong selecting a Bogle PS. I know I'll enjoy it and would not expend the cellar rack space for it at home.

I've never really tried these older - 20 to 40 year old - examples that people suggest are good. PS just seems to survive more than thrive to me as it ages (for the shorter maturities I've tasted, lets say sub 20 yr)
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Re: Do You Find Petit Sirah To Be Monolithic?

#50 Post by John Morris » January 11th, 2020, 6:28 pm

Another great one was the Concannons back in the 80s. They were crappy after a certain point -- utterly commercial, candy stuff. I think they may have had to replant.
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