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The Crusher Petite Sirah 2013
The characteristic Clarksburg Petite Sirah varietal that compromises the majority of this wine displays dark aromas of wild blueberry, black licorice and purple plum. 80% of the wine was aged on French oak promoting notes of caramelized vanilla bean. The remainder of the oak is Hungarian, which enhances characteristic notes of gaminess such as mushroom and tobacco leaf. This deeply expressive wine fills the palate with flavors of blackberry jam and dried cherry, mingling effortlessly with cinnamon bark and molasses. The mouth-coating tannins add structure and complexity to this full-bodied Petite Sirah, while the 6% Pinot Noir adds a layer of plush, round and supple flavors. This wine pairs nicely with olive tapenade on grilled bread, rack of lamb marinated with aromatic herbs or even dark chocolate lava cake.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The Crusher Wines are a testament to an enduring partnership between the winemaking tradition of the Sebastiani family and the Wilsons, a respected grape-growing family with deep roots in Clarksburg, California. Fittingly named for the point in the winemaking process where the fruit of one family’s labors literally gives way to those of the other, The Crusher wines highlight the vibrancy and beauty of the fruit produced in the up-and-coming Clarksburg appellation.
The vineyards just inland from the Sacramento River Delta, along the deep banks of the Sacramento River, comprise the Clarksburg AVA. The River Delta channels in cold air and fog from the Pacific Ocean creating a cooling effect in this area. Warm summer days quickly change to chilly evenings and make a great environment for grape growing. While a range of grape varieties grow here, Chenin blanc stands out the most, distinguishing itself for the appellation.
The Clarksburg Wine Growers and Vintners Association, made up of nearly 50 grower members and over a dozen wineries, has been working since the late 1980s to promote the high quality wine of its region.
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.