A Small Sirah Smile
Picture this: you’re in a tasting room, you spy an attractive member of the opposite sex. You look at them, give them a knowing smile, slightly raise your glass of wine. They look at you, smile and- madre de Dios!- a mouthful of purple-grey teeth grin garishly back at you. So either a) you stepped into an episode of The Walking Dead and are face-to-face with a zombie b) they have REALLY bad oral hygiene or more likely c) they are simply enjoying a glass of Petite Sirah. One of our most desired wines and grapes, Petite Sirah is definitely a crowd-pleaser- and you can tell it is by the amount of discolored happy grins at our winery and events. Inky black, with flavors of any black fruit you can name, big, bold and rich (just how I like my men), this is Petite Sirah. Something that always comes up when discussing Petite Sirah- or conversely, Syrah- is what the heck is the difference between the two varietals? Originally known as Durif (named after the professor who traced it back in the 1800‘s) the two varietals are related, Petite Sirah being a cross Syrah and Peloursin, but that is where any similarity ends. Everything from how the vines grow, to tannin and fruit profile is completely different (Syrah, you will get your turn in a future post). We have four blocks of Petite Sirah grown at Naggiar, three of them being right in the heart of the vineyards and utilizing two different canopy styles. Typically harvested in the middle of harvest, we ferment each block separately with indigenous yeast and store the wine in every type of barrel we use at Naggiar- French and American, large and small format, Bordeaux and Burgundy style barrels. Regardless what program it enters, we barrel age our Petite Sirah for 24-36 months and then hold it in bottle for another 6 months…and thus, we are always running out before the next release. Good things come to those who wait. Petite Sirah generally exhibits flavors and aromas of blackberries, black currants, and cassis. With the barrel aging at Naggiar, our Petite Sirah gets a dose of clove, toffee and black licorice aspects. Due to the enormous personality of the varietal, it pairs well with big cuts of meats and stews: think Argentinian asados, grilled lamb, a hearty American chili for those cold nights, and any vinegar or molasses-based barbecue sauces for those warm summer nights. At Naggiar, we use Petite Sirah as a varietal wine (100% Petite Sirah) and in our two reserve blends, La Bete Noire and Le Grand-Pere. Three nice options to get your grey grin on.