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Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah Tasting: February 19, Alameda, CA

psiloveyou.jpgI've referred to it in the past as "the beast." Possessing tannins that need to be tamed through intelligent winemaking, Petite Sirah can truly be a monster of a wine. One of the least-well -known red grape varieties that are commonly grown in California, it does not command legions of rabid followers like those who attended today's ZAP Zinfandel festival, or the loyal drinkers of Cabernet, or even those who swear by Syrah, from which it takes its misleading name. In the right hands, however, Petite Sirah can be a stunning wine -- deep, resonant, and rich.

Petite Sirah has been grown in California for a long time, but apart from some limited success in the 1970s at the hands of Carl Doumani and Stags' Leap Winery, wines made exclusively from this grape variety never really earned the respect or attention of mainstream wine lovers in any significant way.

Yet producers all over the state continue, quietly, to make Petite Sirahs, and many have no trouble selling them at all to an equally quiet, but passionate following of wine lovers.

And occasionally, these producers, not so quietly serve up their wines with roast meats and chocolate for anyone who dares drink on the dark side, if you'll pardon the expression. The next opportunity you have to sample their wares will be Friday, February 19th, when the society of winegrowers and makers known as P.S. I Love You holds its annual tasting at The Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda.

By then you should be:

a) sufficiently recovered from the Zap Zinfandel festival

b) in the mood for something other than Zinfandel

So go check it out. Who knows, perhaps you'll fall in love too. The event web site has a list of the wineries pouring this year as well as a list of the tasty treats that await you in addition to wine.

P.S. I Love You Dark and Delicious Tasting
February 19th, 2010
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $60 per person and in the past they have sold out. If available, tickets will be sold at the door for $70. They should be purchased in advance online.

My usual recommendations for such public tastings apply. Wear dark clothes; arrive well slept and with food in your stomach (or chow down when you first get there); drink lots of water; and SPIT if you want to actually learn anything and enjoy yourself. These are big wines, often high in alcohol.

Comments (10)

Chris Lopez wrote:
01.31.10 at 1:14 AM

I am so jealous! I wish I lived in the San Fransisco area. At your recommendation I volunteered at Pinot Days in LA and had the time of my life.

Jo Diaz wrote:
01.31.10 at 11:52 AM

Alder, another big thank you for talking about our event... This is our fourth year, and you've graciously supported the effort each time.

If someone from the Bay Area - first to respond - would like a pair of tickets, we're happy to have that person and his/her guest as our guests.

All the person has to o id write "FREE" in your comments, and give a protected Email (Example: joblow @ whereever dot com). I'll Email the person for mailing tickets ASAP.

Again, you're a great resource! Thanks a million.

We'll be drinking on the dark side... I like that!

El Jefe wrote:
01.31.10 at 1:47 PM

Hope to see you there Alder!

chris robinson wrote:
01.31.10 at 10:02 PM

is this also known as Durif? Makes blood and guts wine in Australia as well.

02.01.10 at 6:10 AM

You mean to tell me all I have to do is write "Free" in this email in order to receive a "free" pair of tickets?

I love this country!

Jo- I have been a big fan of P.S.I.L.Y. for a while. Would love to attend.

Alder- another great article. I knew there was I reason I put you first on my rss list...
Hope to see you there!

chris at the20wines dot com

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.01.10 at 7:13 AM

Chris, Yes, this is the same grape as Durif.

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.01.10 at 7:19 AM

Christoper, I just sent you an Email. Tickets will go out today. Congratulations.

BaroloDude wrote:
02.02.10 at 11:02 PM

I wish Elyse/Jacob Franklin was attending the event. THeir PS is my absolute fave. No Vincent Arroyo either>? too bad. Jo D, have they been invited?

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.03.10 at 7:50 AM


Vincent Arroyo is a member of PSILY, so the winery gets all of our communications. They've poured in the past, but haven't chosen to pour this year. (Too bad, as you've noted... Vince's PS really rocks!)

Elyse isn't a member, so the winery's not in the loop of internal communications.

That said, we've picked up Charter Oak, Jazz Cellars, R&B Cellars, Grizzly Republic, and Vezer, who are all pouring for the first time. They picked up on the publicity, and have decided to be part of this amazing, gourmet (food and wine) event.

Many are called, are few have chosen... is how I think of collective marketing. It would be great if the 688 producers of PS in the US were members. We'd have a lot more marketing dollars to raise PS awareness for everyone's PS, but that's only a dream. And, in this economy, it's even tougher to support anything outside of one's own world.

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.03.10 at 8:26 AM

For perspective... 688 producers of PS, with 74 members.

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