2006 Lance & Windmill Petite Syrah

Price: $14.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2006 Lance & Windmill Petite SyrahRumor has it this one is a $60 bottling from Quixote Winery. Some research over at the TTB quickly confirms this and it further backed by the 2005 being offered at $60 on the winery website. As I understand the ’05 garnered 93pts from the Wine Spectator I’m a bit surprised to find this one on the shelves at Trader Joe’s but intrigued to try it as well…

What I Think:

(14.4%) This one starts with bursting blueberry flavors and tons of dark lush fruit. Juicy, rich and velvety but with nice mouth coating tannins with a touch of leather to keep it “restrained”. As it dries out some spice (along with a touch of heat) emerges on a finish that while short lingers on. Despite the big fruit there are enough other components here to keep it interesting (and intact). It’s been a while since I recall enjoying a Petite Sirah as much as I did this one. Pair this one with a steak or a cigar…

Rating: Buy It (a bit spendy but if you are a fan of Petite Sirah well worth trying)

Interested in reading more about the Lance & Windmill Petite Syrah?

  • My friends over at Beards & Bellies describe this as “stain your tongue deliciousness” and rate it 4.5 out of 5 Bellies
  • My friend Matt over at Trader Joe’s Wine Notes summarizes his thoughts on this one by saying “Simply awesome”

2007 Vinum Cellars Petite Sirah

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2007 Vinum Cellars Clarksburg Petite Sirah ReservePer Wine Spectator “Appealing for its bright and juicy red and black fruit flavors, with a smooth texture and vivid spice, cola and toast details. Gains some tannic traction on the finish. Drink now through 2016. 8,000 cases made.” (87 points, $14) — M.W.

What I Think:

A few months back Andy gave me the heads up that they had this one in stock. I had previously tried the ’06 which I picked up via a recommendation for $13 18 months or so ago. My impression then was that while this wine was good it did not deliver on a double digit price point. Granted, I expect a lot there! Seeing this at Trader Joe’s for more than 50% off I figured it was worth giving this one another shot. Since then I’ve had a couple bottles of this but had yet to review as I kept expecting it to disappear much like the Chenin Blanc (which I enjoyed!) did. But to my surprise this one was still smiling from the shelves on my most recent shopping trip so I figured it was due time to share my thoughts.

Big nose loaded with aromas of black olives. This wine is thick & inky in the glass. On that palate you are greeted with juicy, slightly under ripe, blueberry flavors on a tight, acidic structure. Big, toasty tannins emerge very early on the mid palate before giving way to loads of black pepper on an overly dry (and slightly sour) finish. This wine is tightly wound throughout and I don’t think that is meant to change (even with aging). Still not my favorite but guessing many will see it as a lot of wine for the money. For my palate I would pair this one with a rich foods or strong cheeses to help smooth out the tannins. If I grab another bottle I’ll let you know how that goes. In the mean time I would love to hear your thoughts…

Rating: 12th Bottle

2007 Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah

2007 Concannon Central Coast Petite SirahPrice: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Concannon “Bright blackberry and raspberry fruit aromas and flavors mingle with hints of nutmeg and toasty oak. Full body and nice complexity.”

What I Think:

Warm fruit and barrel spice on the nose. In the mouth you are greeted with under ripe, juicy blueberry flavors. This one could use just a little more depth or a touch more fruit as acidity leaves the mid-palate a bit tart. The finish is dry and toasty with chewy soft tannins that linger on. Not the rich flavor profile I’ve come to expect from a Petite Sirah but well made and fairly priced at $7. Just lacking that little something to get me to pull the trigger on buying this one again.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2007 Blue Fin Petite Sirah

Price: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2007 Blue Fin Petite SirahPer Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “Considering its longevity and historical significance, we think Petite Sirah is a wine that hasn’t gotten too much respect. It has often been accused of being too strong, too forceful, and too red (as if that makes sense) for the fancy folks in the wine world. But we’ve recently found a number of Petite Sirahs that break this stereotype – they’re bold and fruity, to be sure, but they also feature softer tannins, making them much more easy-drinking and accessible.

If a wine tastes good but is too heavy for your wallet, though, we’re back in “no respect” territory. And that’s really what makes Blue Fin Petite Sirah such a find. This is an “only at Trader Joe’s” California red that was 40% aged in American oak barrels to soften the tannins. The result is a full-bodied yet mellow-drinking wine, with cherry and black plum aromas and a hint of chocolate raspberry on the palate. Appropriate with pizza and red sauced pastas as well as with grilled meats, at only $3.99 a bottle, Blue Fin Petite Sirah is always appropriate for your pocketbook. Quality + price = value. A simple equation. Only at Trader Joe’s.”

What I Think:

The third of the offerings from Blue Fin which is another product of Bronco Wine Co.. I thought the Chard was nice and didn’t think so highly of the Pinot so I guess this Petite Sirah is now the tie breaker. So would it deliver?

What can I say? In this case I think the description from Trader Joe’s may be one of the more accurate I have ever seen. It pretty much says this wine is a Petite Sirah that isn’t a Petite Sirah. And that is true. A pleasant wine, with little to no varietal characteristics. Smooth drinking with muted fruit and light acids that provide some soft, unexpected tannins. It can surprisingly be referred to as “mellow”. Easy to sip if you are pre-occupied elsewhere but not much to taste here. I’ll be steering clear of this one in the future but at $4 if you have the impulse to give it a try good ahead and do so.

Rating: Skip It

2006 Bogle Petite Sirah

2006 Bogle Petite SirahPrice: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per wine.com “First produced in 1978 by the Bogle family, Petite Sirah is considered Bogle’s “heritage” varietal. On the nose, luscious boysenberry teases you along with touches of black pepper and herbs. Trademark inky and jammy tones fill the mouth with ripe fruit and berries. The voluptuous finish lingers with toasty oak and lush fruit.

The firm tannins make this a wine that can develop for years to come, but you won’t want to wait that long to enjoy it! Try this unique wine with rich meat dishes of lamb, pork or game and their hearty sauces.”

What I Think:

I’ve always been curious about this one, have seen it at Trader Joe’s in the wine aisle for years but it was just a hair north of my normal price range and when the wallet opened wider it never seemed to make the cut. After catching it on Wine Library TV that was about to change quickly. Even more so when RJ’s Wine Blog gave it two thumbs up! Quickly in the cart it went…

Looking for an excuse to open it I remembered @GaryVee called it a pizza wine. Low and behold what was in the oven, before you can check the cork is out… The nose was loaded with dark fruit, pepper and an undertone of herbs (sage?). On the palate dark, toasty and inky with solid blueberry and cherry flavors that meet a nice earthy, leathery component in the mid palate. Progresses to a nice rich, smooth and balanced finish throughout with light tannins with flavors that keep on lingering. This wine has a great structure and is very well balanced throughout. The expected heat never arrives. Hands down the winner of the 4 recent Petite Sirah’s I’ve had. Trader Joe’s currently had two others in this price range, the Rendition and the Inheritance. Don’t waste your time. Easily a Top 10 all time Trader Joe’s wine. Buy this one 3 at a time…

Rating: Bulk Buy

2006 Vinum Cellars Clarksburg Petite Sirah Reserve

2006 Vinum Cellars Clarksburg Petite Sirah ReservePrice: $12.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Nothing like a little inside joke to spark your curiosity. “Pets” is a nickname for Petite Sirah used by vet (veteran, not veterinarian) growers like Ken Wilson, who owns the vineyard where the fruit for this wine comes from. A portion of the profits for this wine will be donated to the San Francisco SPCA animal shelter in memory of Wilson’s dog, Tanker. Inky in color, this is wine that will leave a mark on your teeth and your memory. Notes of wet clay, lavender and clove lead into dark huckleberry fruit on the nose and palate. Subtle notes of vanilla cola linger on the finish. The wine had massive, teethcoating tannins and intense concentration to boot. It’s easy to see another correlation between this and pets, in the more traditional sense, it can easily become your new best friend.”

What I Think:

My curiosity on this one was easy to capture when my friend and colleague of RJ’s Wine Blog gave it a thumbs up and later ranked it as his #5 wine in his Top 10 of 2008 list. Couple his thumbs up with my enjoyment of all things Petite Sirah and it was an easy sale. In trying to tie this back to the winery site I found this PETS offering which seems to be the same, that said you can see my label clearly doesn’t match, can anyone confirm this is the same bottle?

Once the bottle made it home I was quick to open it. The nose was typical Petite Sirah. Initially, I was not to impressed. $13? Thinking immediately what do I have from Trader Joe’s to do a taste-off with… I felt this was tightly wound and full of tannins. To be certain it didn’t need some air I was sure to drink it over a few days, not much help. Full of dark but muted fruit and lacking the type of finish I expect from a Petite Sirah. I’m a fan of big and chewy but this one didn’t get it done. Even my wife, who rarely does so, gave it a thumbs down. Now, perhaps this is the case of the overhyped movie that ends up falling flat. Couple that with my dramatic rise in expectations with double digit price tags and this one may have had the chips stacked against it from the get go. Not bad by any means but at this price point I was expecting a bit more. That said feel free to give it a try, most love it. Perhaps I stand along on this one but I’ll spend my money elsewhere. Seen two Petite Sirahs at Trader Joe’s, one was the Rendition, I’ll give a try and see if it turns out better.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Chalk Creek Mendocino County Petite Sirah

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Not a word to be found…guess I will have to make my opinion authoratative…

What I Think:

To be authoritative I should have taken more robust notes which I did not. In a nutshell I found this one rich & robust with some hints of varietal character when looking through my optimistic glasses. Switching over to the side of pessimism I find this slightly medicinal, definitely a doctored taste as this from a fruit perspective is too far over the top. That leaves me straddling the fence. One I am likely to pick up again but I will leave it to you to decide for yourself.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2004 Rosenblum “Heritage Clone” San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah

Price: $14.99 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines 92 points Robert Parker: “There are nearly 10,000 cases of the stunning 2004 Petite Sirah Heritage Clone. A dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by glorious aromas of creme de cassis, vanilla, incense, crushed rocks, blackberries, and smoke. It is a full-bodied, tannic, chewy, rich, pedal-to-the-metal effort with low acidity as well as ripe tannin. The latter two components will make it difficult to resist, but it should age well for 15-20 years.” (08/06)

What I Think:

First off, I apologize for the time between posts. The good news is that I haven’t stopped drinking so there is a backlog that I will try to empty as quickly as possible. Given that, my notes on some may be briefer than normal so bear with me. Now to the wine…

My brother-in-law from Germany came over a few weeks ago for desert. He enjoys wine and even owns a portion of a vineyard in his home country. As I mentioned when tasting the 2005 version of this wine I have almost 3 cases of it in the cellar. Given that I was so impressed I figured it would have half a shot of doing the same with him.

This wine is big, full and even looking at it you can tell by the dark color heavy in alcohol (15%+). On the nose you get just about anything under the sun mild earthy notes to plum through darker fruits before finishing with some chocolate aromas. On the tongue it is silky smooth and very bold, it has rich velvety fruit with smoky overtones. It feels like you can almost chew on this wine. The fruit last through the mid-palate and into the finish before giving way to tannins which are held in balance by what you have just experienced.

Given my interest in aging this wine, as I drank this I tried to imagine how it will continued to develop in the bottle. Parker says it should last for 15-20 years. I am guessing that it will begin to mellow, the fruit, the tannins, the heavy alcohol. I wonder if I will like that better than it is now. Likely I have enough to try it both ways…

Rating: Cellar It

2005 Rosenblum “Heritage Clone” San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah

Price: $14.40 direct from the winery

What They Said:

Per the winery “The vineyards are located at the foot of Mt. Diablo at the edge of San Francisco Bay. This wine exhibits a great jet black color with aromatics and flavors of ripe blackberries, plums, chocolate, black pepper, violets and spice. This is the perfect wine to pair with hearty fare such as barbecue smoked prime rib, leg of lamb with thyme or grilled sausages. Drink now or cellar for 3-10 years.”

What I Think:

Before we get too far on this one, especially considering my recent comments in regards to Rosenblum, I want to quickly disclose that I have nearly three cases of the 2004 of this wine in my cellar, which accounts for roughly a third of the total quantity. By the way, I recently pulled a few out so maybe you will be seeing that write up soon. I’ll save my big spiel on what attracted me to this wine initially for then.

Now that I have highlighted my bias, let’s get on to this wine. As my wife was making me a nice steak dinner for Father’s Day this seemed like a good bottle to grab.  After popping the cork and pouring it in the glass the first thing you immediately notice is the color, actually I’m not sure that is it. I actually think that you notice the density, or perhaps viscosity. I am not even sure what it means as I say it but this wine seems thick. On the nose you get loads of blackberries with darker things that I have difficulty, with cheating from above maybe it was the chocolate, identifying lingering in the background. On the tongue you are immediately hit with a burst of dark fruit that slightly sours to plums before again rounding out in the mid-palate and giving way to a combination of smoke, spice and vanilla. This trio, along with a bit of tannins, makes for a long, smooth (and again) dark (or thick) finish. At this price point not sure you can hope for much more

My initial reaction was that I should have grabbed a case at the tasting when they were offering 25% off. The winery listed this at $18.00, even with 25% off, I would have saved $4.50 a bottle, the price would have been $13.50. Given that K&L has it for $13.95 I am not as disappointed as I thought I may have been.

I feel as if my wine budget is pretty close to tapped based on recent spending but I think I will dig a little deeper, initially for at least a few more bottles. I need to try this side by side with the ’04 to see if it is as good as the previous vintage. Ideally the results there would leave me wanting more and I could start a nice library of these bottles as they seem to age for some time. Try a bottle of the rich, layered, luscious wine if you have a chance. And if you do let me know your thoughts because I think this is something special. Especially at this price point!

Rating: Wow!