The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2012

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Page 137 of 140

Gustafson Family Vineyards produces an estate-bottled Petite Sirah, but this Sonoma County terroir is a bit different from the rest, sitting 1,800 feet above Dry Creek Valley. Owner Dan Gustafson utilizes sustainable practices to grow a style of Petite Sirah that is as high-flying in all the varietal hallmarks—saturated color, ample acidity and tannin, and spice inundated fruit—as the site itself. Petite Sirah vineyards for Gustafson Family Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. Here are some of my detailed notes on the Petite Sirahs taking today's wine world by storm: 22011 Redtree, California Petite Sirah ($8) Vivid purplish red, exuding blueber- ryish varietal fruit with smoky spice notes and citrus subtleties; zesty entry, turning soft and jammy, with a round, almost Merlot- ish bounce in the mouth. Line 39 2011 Petite Sirah, North Coast ($12) Like its Redtree compan- ion, a dark, round, fruit-forward render- ing of the grape, veering towards chocolaty-cherry qualities; finishing soft, easy, extremely accessible. David Fulton 2008 Petite Sirah, Saint Helena– Napa Valley ($45) Definitely on the serious side, with black-ruby color appropri- ated by teeming aromas of blueberry and blackberry, underlined by sweet, fine grained French oak and little nibs of chocolate; full bodied yet round and fluid in the middle, finishing with gripping tannin. 2009 Gustafson Family Vineyards, East Ridge Block Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah ($32) Black-ruby color followed by chocolaty- thick, concentrated, black cherry fruit embedded in thick, blocky, muscle- bound sensations; while big in body and tannin, revved up by good, zingy natural acidity. Concannon 2008 Heritage Petite Sirah, Livermore Valley–San Francisco Bay ($60) While owned by The Wine Group, fourth-generation vintner John Concannon is still involved with this vener- ated growth, and he calls this bottling their "best of the best," which it is: black colored, bursting with black cherryish fruit, a mushroom-like earthiness, and smoky oak nuances, building into big, meaty, yet supple sensations in the mouth. Guglielmo 2008 Private Reserve Petite Sirah, Santa Clara Valley ($25) Sweet toned, fully ripened style, while tinged with peppery spice, tar and rose petal complexities, almost Rhône-like in the nose; followed by lush, spicy, mouth-filling fruit, round and easy in the feel. Michael David 2010 Petite Petit, Lodi ($18) Black-ruby color and ripe, plummy nose infused with notes of peppery beef bouillon and smoked bacon; the exuberant, plummy flavors continuing in a dense, full body, filled out by well rounded tannin. Michael David 2009 Earthquake Petite Sirah, Lodi ($26) Inky black/ purple color- ing, followed by unabashedly oak driven, blackberry aromas tinged with notes of smoked bacon; big, chunky, even funky in the mouth, yet ultimately compelling, like a big-buckled Elvis painted on black velvet canvas. Vina Robles 2009 Estate Petite Sirah, Paso Robles ($26) Ultra-dense, black-ruby color; plummy, ripe toned fruit with pungent spice notes of black pepper and shaved licorice root; full, thick yet plush qualities on the palate, refined by rich, viscous texturing. november 2012 / the tasting panel / 137 PHOTO COURTESY OF GUSTAFSON FAMILY VINEYARDS

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