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P.S. I Love You: Petite Sirah Tasting, Feb 8th, Alameda

psiloveyou.jpgPetite Sirah may very well be the Rodney Dangerfield of the varietals. Formerly, and still occasionally, known as Durif, this inky, dark, tannic monster of a wine generally takes a back seat to many other grape varieties in various blends produced by many winemakers around the state of California. There are a few brave souls, however who continue to make wines made solely or mostly with Petite Sirah out of devotion to its potential as a profound, powerful red wine.

Most of these intrepid winemakers are part of a society cleverly known as P.S. I Love You, whose annual tasting every year is about as undersold as the recent ZAPZinfandel festival is oversold. What this means, of course, is that if you have any interest in this grape and the wines it makes, youve got a great opportunity this coming week to find out a lot about tannin management (Petite Sirah is a heavily tannic grap, and part of the challenge in making wine from this variety is keeping the tannins in check).

So rather than fight your way through an evening's commute in the East Bay, maybe you should just swing by and taste a little before making your way home. Over 25 producers of Petite Sirah will be pouring their wines, each paired with a specific food from local merchants and restaurants. Should be a good time.

P.S. I Love You Tasting
Thursday, February 8th, 2007
5:00PM - 8:00PM
Rosenblum Cellars
2900 Main Street
Alameda, CA 94501

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased in advance on the society's web site or via phone: 707 620 0788.

Parking is a breeze in the area, once you get there.

Comments (13)

Gene wrote:
02.05.07 at 8:43 PM

Hi Alder. One of the best Petit Sirah's I've ever tasted was made by a new winery in Washington - Palouse Winery on Vashon Island. "Black Pearl" made by George Kirkish was deep,rich black and loaded with black plum flavors. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly,it is sold out. Gene

jo wrote:
02.05.07 at 11:30 PM

When was their last public tasting. I've seemed to miss them.

Alder wrote:
02.06.07 at 3:08 PM


Their last one was last year sometime. I missed it too. I believe you can sign up for their mailing list on their site if you want to stay informed.

Winesmith wrote:
02.06.07 at 7:36 PM

So wish I could be there. But kind of hard to make it from DC. I hope you'll report back if you go.

grizzlygrapes wrote:
02.06.07 at 10:17 PM

I have placed Rosenblum "Picket Road" P.S. on my wine list for the past several years and those I handsell it to come away impressed by its accessibility. Nothing like the Stags' Leap Winery version I used to sell as a salesman years ago. Have also had similar positive results with Foppiano and Bogle at a lower price point.

So is this big-fruit, lower-tannin, less-inky "nouveau" style gonna be the new thing in p.s.?

Alder wrote:
02.07.07 at 10:16 AM


I'm not at all confident in my ability to predict sylistic trends in PS winemaking. Certainly I think we will see increasingly better tannin management in the future which will make the wines more accessible, but I don't know about less inky. Rosenblum has always been a leader in big wines, so who knows...

Dan Zurliene wrote:
02.10.07 at 10:48 AM

You also forgot a great producer up in Calistoga, Vincent Arroyo. One of the all time best in my book.

Alder wrote:
02.10.07 at 4:48 PM


You are truly a connoissuer if you know Vincent Arroyo. He definitely makes the best PS in California in my book, it's just really hard to get ahold of as he only makes very small quantities.

vinofyl wrote:
02.12.07 at 11:07 AM

The best way to ensure receipt of his wines is to stop by for a barrel tasting and buy futures. Unfortunately, as you well know, the final bottled product is not as tasty as the barrel sample.

Mike wrote:
02.14.07 at 10:24 AM

The best Petite Sirah I have ever had is made by Chris Madrigal. The Madrigal Petite Sirah is an outstanding example at a reasonable price (about 30$) of how great this wine can be.

Warren wrote:
02.23.07 at 2:03 PM

There are some very high quality Petites coming out of the Sierra Foothills of California. Black fruit, rich and concentrated flavors, spicy yet softer tannin. Drinkable now.

Maria wrote:
02.24.07 at 7:45 PM

I've been jones'ing for a Durif I had back in the late 90s at a little winery in Oregon (can I say the name here? Chateau Lorane) and was able to get it only once when someone happened to bring me a bottle from Oregon to Sicily where I lived. This Durif was absolutely amazing -- huge and absolute velvet. Sends shivers down your spine and you have to close your eyes from the sheer joy. I've been in touch with that winery a few times, every time I move, asking if he can ship to me but, alas, the answer is always no (I hate international shipping laws). Now I'm in London and did a search for Durif here, and am coming up with a few places that have it, although not many. It's not a known wine here, believe it or not. One large wine shop (that I won't mention the name because I refuse to go there anymore due to their attitudes) said "get petite syrah it's the exact same thing". Hmm. Exact same thing? Will I be disappointed? I'm sure others (Durif) that I try will be as good ... won't they?? ;-)

Alder wrote:
02.25.07 at 9:11 AM


Thanks for the comments. As far as Durif and Petite Sirah being exactly the same thing, well, that's complicated. My understanding is that they are indeed the same grape variety, but there exist a lot of different "interpretations" of thh, be variety from a winemaking perspective, as there are with any varietal. So you should go out and buy some of that Petite Sirah and try a few until you find something like your favorite Durif.

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