Saturday, July 24, 2010
PS I Love You is for Wine Lovers
To screen lovers, PS I Love You was the name of a TV show or the 2007 movie with Hilary Swank. But to wine lovers, PS I Love You is the name of an advocacy group for a lesser-known red grape and its luscious, hedonistic wines – Petite Sirah.
This Tuesday, July 27th, Concannon Vineyard hosts the Eighth Annual Petite Sirah Symposium. It's sold out but you can catch Dr. Vino, Dan Berger and others chat about this intriguing grape and its wines by live stream beginning at 8:30 AM at www.psiloveyou.org/live.
According to fourth-generation Livermore vintner John Concannon, his family has grown Petite Sirah since the early 1900s. As was customary in its Rhône homeland, California Petite Sirah was used as a blending grape – that is, until John's dad decided to bottle it as a varietal wine in 1961, a year that marked a new beginning for American Petite Sirah.
Despite its name, there's nothing petite or shy about this wine. Petite Sirah is big, dark and brooding. Inky in the glass, the purple-hued wine sends up a heady nose of ripe, dark fruit and a chewy, fuller-bodied mouthfeel loaded with black and blueberry flavors. Concannon's own 2007 Conservancy Petite Sirah is rich with tart boysenberry fruit that finishes with a lick of leathery tannins. Delicious now, it should continue to age well, as with many age-worthy examples of the varietal.
We've enjoyed exquisite New World examples of Petite Sirah since the thrill of that first taste of Lava Cap at the Four Seasons in Newport Beach many moons ago. Sink your teeth into Petites by Jaffurs, JC Cellars and Stag's Leap. We've found the latter on some desert wine lists. Look for it when you travel too. We'll forever remember the bottle of indescribable pleasure by Jeff Runquist we found in an unlikely setting, in Yosemite at the Ahwahnee.
Shake up your red wine drinking by uncorking a bottle of Petite Sirah. Put a couple of good bottles on hold for a few years for good measure, too. You'll find PS a great match for grilled meats, lamb roasts, rich sausage or chicken dishes, chocolates and many cheeses. In summer, try it with barbecue instead of Zinfandel; come winter, it might be your new favorite wine to pair with short ribs.
Have fun reading about the grape's curious history and the wines it makes on the psiloveyou.org website. Or, dial in to the live stream from the symposium this Tuesday. Even better, start giving PS a swirl. You might find yourself singing the same song, PS I Love You.
Disclosure: We received a bottle of the 2007 Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah as a sample.