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Foppiano Estate Petite Sirah 2001
This distinctive, full-flavored, forward wine is particularly well matched with strongly flavored, and spicy foods. Thai and Indian cuisines are often favored. Barbecue and Petite Sirah are excellent companions. The Petite Sirah meal of choice for the Foppiano family is barbecued wild boar and may also include a rich chocolate berry desert.
Foppiano Vineyards is proud of their Italian heritage and deep, 120-year roots in the Russian River Valley. The story of Foppiano Vineyards is a family epic full of tradition, perseverance and contributions to the history of Sonoma County and the wine industry. Founded in 1896 by Giovanni Foppiano, Foppiano Vineyards is Sonoma’s oldest continually operated, family-owned winery. Their family has supplied northern California with wine for over a century surviving Prohibition. They believe that through the strength of family and a commitment to quality, their traditions will be maintained and thrive. The vision of the fifth generation of the Foppiano family guides our winery into the future while creating a world class wine program representative of their history.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Sonoma County, Foppiano Vineyards sits on a 160-acre estate in Russian River Valley, an American Viticulture Area Louis M. Foppiano helped to establish. Cooling morning fog and warm summer days created the ideal microclimate for grapes. Since 1896 their estate vineyards have produced ripe, expressive fruit, enabling our award-winning wines to speak for themselves, vintage after vintage. Their estate Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vineyards thrive in the temperate climate of the Russian River Valley. Foppiano Vineyards’ premier location, combined with their foundation of core family values, has allowed them to produce quality wines for over 100 years. With a great respect for the earth, the family farms their land sustainably and provides the highest level of care and maintenance. It is their goal to ensure the vineyards continue to produce quality fruit for many years to come.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
With its deep color, rich texture, firm tannin, and bold flavors, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The variety was originally known as Durif, but took on its more popular moniker when it was imported to California from France in 1884. Despite its origins, it has since become known as a quintessentially Californian grape. It has been commonly utilized as a blending partner for softer Zinfandel and other varieties, but has also found success as a single varietal wine. It is most commonly grown in Lodi and the Central Valley, and to an extent in Sonoma and Napa counties.
In the Glass
Petite Sirah wines are typically deep, dark, rich, and inky, with concentrated flavors of blueberry, plum, backberry, black pepper, sweet baking spice, leather, and cigar box, and chewy, chocolatey tannins. Notes of vanilla and coconut can be found in examples with significant amounts of new oak.
Petite Sirah’s full body and bold fruit make it an ideal match for barbecue, especially brisket with a slightly sweet sauce, and other rich meat dishes. The variety’s heavy tannins call for fatty protein and strong flavors that won’t get drowned out by the wine.
Don’t get Petite Sirah confused with Syrah—it is not, as the name might seem to imply, a smaller version of Syrah. It is, however, the offspring of Syrah (crossed with an obscure French variety called Peloursin), so the two grapes do share some characteristics despite being completely distinct varieties.