Over the last month or two we have been drinking a whole lot of Syrah, so I figured why not open and write about a bottle of Petite Sirah. Petite Sirah or Durif, as it was called in France, is the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin, that was developed in the Rhone valley but never really had much success there. When brought to California, however, the grape thrived. Petite Sirah typically has very small berries, which result is a lot of color, flavor, and tannins. These are wines that can pack a whole lot of punch due to all that dark skin.
One of my very favorite examples of Petite Sirah year in and year out is the Napa Valley Petite Sirah from Girard. The 2009 vintage is intense, opaque purple in your glass. The bouquet brings black raspberry fruit along with some cherry pie, but it also has notes of vanilla, lavender, and spice. In your mouth you get a big blast of up front fruit that is dominated by black raspberry. On the mid-palate you get a little bit of very pleasant spice. Then a wave of mouthwatering acidity and some bold tannins take you for a hedonistic ride to the finish. There is nothing subtle about this wine at all, but with all the fruit, acid, and tannins working together, there is a nice balance and structure to this somewhat complex Petite Sirah. For a price tag in the mid $20's, this is a real crowd pleaser that has something for everyone.
As far as food goes, this big, bold Petite Sirah wants some big and bold food. Get me something that has the fat and flavor to stand up to all those tannins and fruit. This would be fantastic with some slow smoked baby back ribs or a juicy cheeseburger. Its early in the AM as I write this, but I'm already thinking about firing up the grill and popping the cork on another bottle this afternoon. Sitting outside on this ridiculously warm spring day with a big ol' cheeseburger and a glass of Girard Petite Sirah sounds just a little bit like paradise.