Saturday, March 26, 2011

Foppiano Estate Bottled Petite Sirah: Delish.

Petite Sirah is a tricky beverage: Too often I find a harsh, bitter note. A few hours at the 'PS I Love You' annual Petite Sirah event in San Francisco produces a substantial minority of this rich, black wine that sets my teeth on edge.

One friend claims this is because there are two distinct grapes planted in California as Petite Sirah, one of them mistakenly, and that one produces this bitter wine. But a winemaker at a recent dinner party insists that it's a matter of careful picking of the grapes when they are properly ripe.

Foppiano of Napa Valley must pick their PS grapes at the right time, because the bottle of Estate Bottled Petite Sirah, Russian River Valley, vintage 2008 they sent me is delicious in that distinctly PS way: rich, black as a sinner's heart, aromatic, with intense black-fruit flavors and a long smooth finish.

The tasting notes claim that winemaker Natalie West handles her PS winemaking more like Pinot Noir than like Cab, with a gentle press and fermentation in open-topped barrels. To manage tannins, she uses only 30% new oak.

This is a tasty example of Foppiano's flagship wine, retailing at a bargain $20, and I recommend it.

Foppiano Vineyards, 12707 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448.

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