Our friend, Randle Johnson, (pictured here) winemaker at the Hess Collection, is a Petite Sirah enthusiast. He loves working with the grape and produces rich age-worthy wines from different vineyards in Mendocino County. His colleague, Dave Guffy, produces one from the Napa Valley. The Ukiah Valley of Mendocino County offers ideal growing conditions for Petite Sirah and Randle produces two different wines from the area under the Artezin label. His best Petite Sirah by far is from the 90-year old Garzini Ranch. Dave Guffy’s Petite Sirah from Napa Valley is made from the Hess Allomi Vineyard, a remote and warm area also ideal for growing the varietal.
Artezin 2010 Petite Sirah Mendocino County ($25 ) 88
Opaque purple in color, the 2010 Artezin Petit Sirah offers aromas of blackberry fruit and forest floor. Aged in 100% French oak, it is medium weight and soft on the palate with rather light-bodied black cherry fruit flavors and firm dry tannins on the finish. This Petite Sirah is produced from grapes of several vineyards in the eastern Ukiah Valley near Lake Mendocino.
Artezin 2009 Petite Sirah Garzini Ranch Mendocino ($36 ) 91
The 2009 Petite Sirah Garzini Ranch displays a dark ruby hue and offers pure black fruit flavors with chocolate and licorice notes on the palate. It is elegant and beautifully balanced and has a fruity long lasting finish with round firm tannins. The Garzini Ranch is a high quality family vineyard that was first planted in Ukiah in 1921.
Hess 2009 Allomi Petit Sirah Napa ($36) 89
The Allomi Petite Sirah exhibits earthy blackberry fruit aromas on the nose and has rich and concentrated black and chocolate flavors on the palate with a soft velvet texture and hard tannins on the finish. The Allomi Vineyard is located on the eastern base of Howell Mountain in a remote area of Napa County that offers warm growing condition for ripening Petite Sirah.
Petite Sirah can be paired with a wide variety of dishes such as grilled lamb and barbecue ribs, grilled figs with blue cheese and balsamic, root vegetables, and even chocolate dipped boysenberries.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler
October 4, 2012