It’s the Ninth Annual Petite Sirah Noble Symposium today, and to celebrate, PS lovers all over the globe are tasting their favorite offerings, and tweeting their thoughts and observations. Wanna slip into the jetstream? Use #PSLove when you tweet, and use your favorite tracking method to follow the convos; Twitterfall and Tweetdeck spring to mind as good options …
Anyhow, here in my own private Ridgeland, I’ve got two bottles of wine, a loaf of Watsonville Sourdough, and my laptop; must be tasting time!
This afternoon’s performance will commence with a short set from the opening act, followed by our headliner. The 2005 Ridge Vineyards Dynamite Hill Petite Sirah will go on at … um … 1:23pm! Meaning, now!
To describe the hues of this wine as being inky and concentrated is perhaps a tad redundant, given the varietal in question, but I will say there are some lovely and shimmering bright purple highlights dancing all ’round the limn, lending an appearance of play oft missing from the juice of this notoriously squid-inky grape … Bottled in 2007, 4 years of bottle age have definitely done some good work on the aromatics; loads of blue and black fruits, of course, but also a nice lavender and lilac layer, some berry pie sugar, a touch of cocoa powder, and a bit of anise … nicely resolving tannins at point-of-entry, pretty much devoid of the grippier, more adhesive characteristics that can sometimes plague younger renditions … a healthy if not overwhelming dose of acidity along the tongue-sides, and a jam-and-jelly viscosity down the middle make for an expansive mid-palate … the finish plays a little dirtier, with some mineral and chalk snowflaking the juice; a fair amount of flavor holds in the cheeks well after the swallow, and while the finish isn’t the lengthiest I’ve experienced, the lingering smoky notes are quite pleasant. Plus, at a polite 13.5% ABV, there is no residual heat to obfuscate the primary fruit, of which there is still a good abundance, at least of the darker sorts, particularly blackberry.
And now, the main event! This is a wine of extreme distinction, and one certain to go down in Ridge history as a legendary release. Why? Well, it’s certainly delicious (full confession, I’ve been tasting this wine for days!), but beyond that, it’s also our VERY FIRST NATIONALLY RELEASED PETITE SIRAH!
Tremendously viscous in the bowl; virtually legless; meaning it’s all glaze and no run-down … as above, a deep, deep, deep dark belly, with just a hint of dancing mulberry highlights in the limn and on the surface … Definitely young on the nose, with just a hint of funk still needing to blow off, but below that lives an utterly ambrosial, paradisiacal bouquet ripe with bubbling blueberry slump fruit (I think you’d have to be from Maine — which I’m not, by the way — to get that reference!) abutting some decadent caramel cremes and a hickory stick’s worth of bark and woodsiness … God, this is going to be a good wine! It’s awful young though, no doubt about it; the tannins, while exquisitely drawn and acted, are certainly prominent; it’s a testament to their refinement that they don’t in fact feel stickily exposed, but rather, already manage to lay comfortingly on the tongue like a favorite winter duvet … Just a wealth of fruit information in the mid-palate; all of it dark and robust, but astonishingly complex all the same: I’m talkin’ fig, plum, mulberry, currant, black cherries, etc. Code name: Delicious. Drinking this wine is like going back in time to a room above a Haight-Ashbury Head Shop; there are black light posters on the wall, someone is working a really big bong for all it’s worth, Hendrix is on the stereo, there is some funky Indian incense burning, and you’re chilled out on the coach with an acoustic guitar that has a black lacquer finish, and you’re fingerpicking something doleful and southern while you watch your friend make out with a very groovy chick of some sort of compendial and indescribably alluring and cocoa-y ethnicity, thinking to yourself that if the sun never comes up again, you’re going to be ok, because swimming by yourself below the cliffs at the edge of the Richmond District in the dark is as zen-pure as your mojo-hungry soul can handle … and you’re picking that black git-box, and your friend and his galpal are now fully pretzled, and the incense is done but lingering, and Hendrix fades away, and the first tinkling gypsy piano notes of “Love Street” trip fantastic from your long-player, and nobody spilled the bong, and you have a waking dream about black plums, and somewhere in the future, I understand you.