I pride myself in taking wines that party-goers may not be familiar with, but most importantly, wines they will enjoy. At these holiday gatherings, it is my goal to taste all of the wines that I have never had before.
If California were a country, it would be the world's fourth largest wine producer, after Italy, France and Spain. Long planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are also big varieties for us too.
Petite Sirah as a small, passionate following; goes well with food; is one of the few big reds that works with cheese; has a point of view and is not overexposed. It's like a "St. Bernard that wants to sit in your lap." It's that big and friendly.
California's first vineyards were planted starting in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries. The vines planted were what have become known as Mission grapes, or Criolla, a term that covers a few varieties traditionally used for sacramental wine.
The wine world includes a lot of small, family-owned producers. Many produce good wines, and a multitude don't. Occasionally, however, the results are outstanding -- truly among the ranks of the region's very best.
Petite Sirah is, along with Zinfandel, one of California's heritage and most distinctive grapes. It can produce wonderfully complex, rich, black fruited wines, often with floral, blueberry, tar, licorice and peppery dimensions.