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Plungerhead Lodi Petite Sirah 2015
#21 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys of 2018
This Petite Sirah bursts with aromas of muddle blackberries, fresh caramel, and smoky oak. At second swirl, there is a distinct tobacco leaf aroma with other subtle notes of dried vanilla bean, brambly blueberries and coriander seed finishing with an earthy Lodi terroir stamp. True to its varietal, flavors of intense blackberry, dried cherry, and wild strawberries glide across the palate. The finish lingers back toward the earthy nuances of forest floor with a hint of mocha.
90% Petite Sirah 5% Tempranillo 4% Merlot 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
According to local legend, after giving the creative department a bit of grief during a wine brand creative process, a mysterious bottle of wine bearing a label that was eerily familiar and quite uncanny made its way to Eddie’s desk. The character on the label had his face, his signature facial hair and was wearing his favorite purple blazer. However, on the label he was also wearing a red toilet plunger hat, wine barrels for trousers and holding a sign that simply said, “Plungerhead.”
Eddie, because he’s that kind of guy, took it in stride with a good laugh, and then proceeded to pour a glass of wine for anyone willing to enjoy a glass along with him. That’s just Eddie.
Positioned between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Lodi appellation, while relatively far inland, is able to maintain a classic Mediterranean climate featuring warm, sunny days and cool evenings. This is because the appellation is uniquely situated at the end of the Sacramento River Delta, which brings chilly, afternoon “delta breezes” to the area during the growing season.
Lodi is a premier source of 100+ year old ancient Zinfandel vineyards—some dating back as far as 1888! With low yields of small berries, these heritage vines produce complex and bold wines, concentrated in rich and voluptuous, dark fruit.
But Lodi doesn’t just produce Zinfandel; in fact, the appellation produces high quality wines from over 100 different grape varieties. Among them are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc as well as some of California's more rare and unique grapes. Lodi is recognized as an ideal spot for growing Spanish varieties like Albarino and Tempranillo, Portugese varieties—namely Touriga Nacional—as well as many German, Italian and French varieties.
Soil types vary widely among Lodi’s seven sub-appellations (Cosumnes River, Alta Mesa, Deer Creek Hills, Borden Ranch, Jahant, Clements Hills and Mokelumne River). The eastern hills are clay-based and rocky and in the west, along the Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers, sandy and mineral-heavy soils support the majority of Lodi’s century-old own-rooted Zinfandel vineyards. Unique to Lodi are pink Rocklin-Jahant loam soils, mainly found in the Jahant sub-appellation.
With its deep color, rich texture, firm tannins and bold flavors, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The variety, originally known as Durif in the Rhône, 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, commonly utilized as a blending partner for softer Zinfandel and other varieties, but also finds success as a single varietal wine. It thrives in warmer spots, such as Lodi, Sonoma and Napa counties.
In the Glass
Petite Sirah wines are typically deep, dark, rich and inky with concentrated flavors of blueberry, plum, blackberry, black pepper, sweet baking spice, leather, cigar box and chewy, chocolaty tannins.
Petite Sirah’s full body and bold fruit make it an ideal match for barbecue, especially brisket with a slightly sweet sauce or other rich meat dishes. The variety’s heavy tannins call for protein-rich and strong flavors that can stand up to 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 genetic characteristics despite being completely distinct.