New Customers Save $20 off $100+* with code FEBNEW20
New Customers Save $20* with code FEBNEW20
*New customers only. One-time use per customer. Order must be placed by 2/28/2018. The $20 discount is given for a single order with a minimum of $100 excluding shipping and tax. Items with pricing ending in .97 are excluded and will not count toward the minimum required. Discount does not apply to corporate orders, gift certificates, StewardShip membership fees, select Champagne brands, Riedel glassware, fine and rare wine, and all bottles 3.0 liters or larger. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order.
Guenoc Lake County Petite Sirah 2011
A warm inland area just north of Napa Valley, Lake County represents a new frontier for California winemaking. While Prohibition halted viticulture here, as it did in so many California regions, significant winemaking activity didn’t resume until the 1990s when its fruity but savory Sauvignon blanc earned the area new recognition.
Lake County is comprised of a handful of unique American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
Vineyards settle into the hills on the west side of Clear Lake, creating the Clear Lake AVA, and produce good quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc and Zinfandel. Recently some of Napa’s more respected growers have recognized the potential of The Red Hills AVA, located within the boundaries of the Clear Lake AVA. Its notable volcanic and obsidian-based soils could be the source of California’s next best Cabernet Sauvignons. Andy Beckstoffer, a leader the escalation of Napa Valley to a world-renowned wine region, has already invested heavily in the area.
Guenoc Valley AVA produces fine examples of Petite Sirah, recognized for their voluptuous aromas of clove, cocoa, tobacco and deep red and blue berry flavors.
The High Valley AVA sits northeast of Clear Lake. This warm area boasts multiple soil types allowing growers a lot of flexibility and experimentation with grape varieties. While Sauvignon blanc is a mainstay, this zone excels with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, as well as other less common varieties like Barbera and Tempranillo.
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.