Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Petite Sirah, what?

It is my goal to taste as many wines as possible before my WSET level 3 exam in October.  As such, I invited over a few people from class, and as it was July 4th, we decided it was only appropriate to taste some good old 'merican wines!

I don't know why it took me until I moved to Hong Kong to realize how great American wines can be.  Big, bold, jammy, and never short on the booze content, these fruit bombs seem to be built with the Asian palate in mind.

So what did we taste, you ask.  Allow me enlighten you.

We started with 2009 Saints + Angels Chardonnay from Central Coast, CA.  Upon a quick google seach I see that Central Coast is the area between Monteray and Point Conception.  Not familiar with the USA?  It's right in the middle of San Fran and LA.

This Chardonnay was unlike a lot of others we had all tried, namely because it tasted fruity with pineapple flavors (no pineapple acutally added). 

Next we moved onto Ravenwood Zinfandel.  I am usually a HUGE Zin fanbecause I just love the big jammy flavors.  This seemed to be the exception, not because I didn't like it (I did), but because it had more of the currant/plum flavors than the rasp/straw you'd expect.  Tasty nonetheless.

Third, Delectus 2005 Petite Sirah.  Of the 8 of us tasting, not a one of us knew a thing about Petite Sirah.  We all gathered that it was somehow related to the Syrah we all know and love from France, but why so small?  Why change the Y to an I?

Turns our Petite Sirah is a pretty new varietal that orginated in the South of France in the late 1880s and was aptly named after its discoverer Francois Durif.  Apparently the Syrah pollen crossed with the Peloursin flowers creating Durif.  Durif, used interchangably with Petite Sirah, is usually very tannic and when oaked has aromas of melted chocolate.  And this one packed a punch at 16.5%.  Woot.

We ended the evening with a wine from the same producer as the Chardonnay.  This Cabernet Savignon was oaked in new French oak before being oaked in American oak even longer.  It was velvety soft on the palate with jammy flavors.  I'd say this tasted closer to a Zin than our Zin did!

All in all we got some great practice in with our American wines, plenty of cheese and hot dogs (USA, USA, USA!) were consumed, and we all retired one happy bunch. 

Happy Independance Day!

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