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2011 Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah Tasting: February 18, Alameda, CA

darkand_delicious.gifI'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 last week'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 18th, 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.

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 18th, 2011
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $63 per person and in the past they have sold out. If available, tickets will be sold at the door for more than that. 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 (7)

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.10.11 at 9:37 AM

AS always, Alder, your support is greatly appreciated. As I wrote yesterday on my own blog, "If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes sponsors and volunteers to raise an event." Within that context, wine writers and bloggers fit into the category of "volunteers."

I had to chuckle to myself a while ago, when I read a scathing blog story about bloggers who waste their time promoting events. All I could think was, "Hum... You've never put onE on, or you'd know how important it is to help those who are struggling to present events in an educational setting."

It's people like you, Alder, who make my day... Big THANKS!

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.10.11 at 9:50 AM

Thanks, Alder... What would we do without the help of people like you willing to help us spread the word?

With 30 foodies serving up really delicious foods, no one has to easy anything ahead of time ;^)

Alana Gentry wrote:
02.10.11 at 4:05 PM

This is my favorite event on the year. Every wine station is paired with a food station--which is my absolute fav way of tasting wine. Sure, the wines are big and your teeth will be purple, but as a PS lover I taste terrior when I taste PS. It's a fascinating grape. The wine & food is top notch, well worth the price of the ticket. And yes, it's educational and delicious not a drunkfest--thank you Jo!

Matt wrote:
02.10.11 at 5:11 PM

Though I'm sure you're aware of it, it probably bears a mention that the venue, Rock Wall, is the new(ish) venture of the Rosenblums. They've made their fair share of amazing petite sirah in the past and I tasted a few of their wines from the barrel this summer and they were incredible. We have one or two reserve Zins left from the trip, but I remember loving the PS that Rock Wall was creating at the time. I wish I could afford to drive down for that event, I'd love to stain my teeth on some PS, arguably one of my favorite varietals when made correctly.

Jo Diaz wrote:
02.11.11 at 7:40 AM


Read your comment on Alder's blog about Dark & Delicious and Kent's new digs. Also saw that you wish you could afford to drive down.

If I gave you a pair of tickets, could you pull it off? $126 value... Just let me know. I'd love to have you there.

Corwin wrote:
02.14.11 at 8:02 AM

PS I love it! Does this group ever go on the road like ZAP?

Mark wrote:
02.14.11 at 10:38 AM

Seriously.....time to bring Petite Syrah to Southern California! Thanks for the heads up Alder, we had a Priest Ranch PS this week that was incredible and under $40 a bottle

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