As many of you know by now, my father-in-law is an avid Napa Valley enthusiast, and has quite the extensive wine cellar. On a recent visit to Napa, he had the privilege of not only touring a couple of the vineyards that partner with Three Clicks winery, but also participating in one of the harvests. I was excited to enjoy a bottle of the 2011 Petite Sirah since it has a rather limited production release of only 125 cases.
Three Clicks is a collaboration between winemakers Bruce Devlin and Dirk Hampson who share a philosophy to craft the “best quality wine from premium vineyard sources in the Napa Valley”. Their vision is to make the kind of wines they want to drink, and then be able to share them with everyone else. The name Three Clicks honours journalist Harry Allen Smith, who reportedly “bribed a telegraph operator to send a “three-click” advance warning just before sending out the message that Prohibition had been repealed”. He was therefore able to become the first American to legally drink an alcoholic beverage after the Prohibition repeal in 1933.
The grapes for the 2011 vintage were sourced from 2 small family vineyards in Calistoga, the Citron vineyard and Gary Branham’s Obsidian vineyard. The winemaker states that it can cellar for 10-15 years, however, “our preference is to drink them younger and more fruit forward in the 6 month to 2 year window”.
Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry and earthy minerals. Blueberry, cranberry and tangy cherry fruits ran atop an earthy undercurrent, whilst toasted oak and traces of baking spices comprised the moderate finish. A refined and easy drinking glass with a fantastic balance of fruit, spice and invigorating tartness, each sip will keep you reaching for more.
100% Petite Sirah
Produced and Bottled by Three Clicks Wines, St. Helena
$38 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2021
Le Lapin Paso Robles Petite Sirah (NV) is one of the bottles I picked up at All Star’s wine tasting this past weekend. Somewhat ironically, it was not on my list of wines that I wanted to sample. It happened to be at the table with two other bottles that I was interested in; as I love Petite Sirah, I suppose I just couldn’t exercise enough self control in passing it over. At the tasting I thought it was worthwhile enough to pursue more of, especially at its price point, so it ended up in my basket.
Le Lapin is the value wine label from Rabbit Ridge Winery. All of the grapes are sourced from Paso Robles vineyards, although the wines are non-vintage, meaning two or more vintages were used in the production of each bottle. The winery says that the wines are meant to be every day bottles, but can age for a few years. However, it’s rather difficult to determine the drinking thru date when there isn’t a vintage provided for the bottle. After rummaging about on the Rabbit Ridge website, it appears to me that the bottling for this Petite Sirah is 2009.
Nutty, earthy aromas curved around in the gorgeous purply-red plushness in my glass. Dense blueberry and plum fruits filled every sip in the full body. Firm tannins ensured a pleasant dryness that introduced the spicy black peppercorn and oak finish. Smooth, velvety and a fantastic purchase in its price point, each glass is effortless and agreeable.
100% Petite Sirah
Produced and Bottled by Le Lapin
Enjoy now through 2012
Petite Sirah is one of my favourite grapes. It’s essentially a comfort food grape for me. There’s something about its lush, sweet and spice velvetiness that’s like snuggling up in a cozy blanket. There is also a certain sense of effortlessness to it, I generally always enjoy every Petite Sirah varietal or blend bottle. Even though I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Concannon Conservancy Petite Sirah 2008, I wanted to give it a try. I’m a strong supporter of sustainable farming and land preservation, so I admire their mantra of “We believe preservation of vineyard and agricultural lands protects our quality of life.” Additionally, they were the first vineyard in California to bottle Petite Sirah over 40 years ago.
I was hoping this bottle would be a stellar example of my beloved grape. Aromas of plum and leather weaved thru the dark garnet in my glass. Coaxed blueberry and blackberry flavours were underscored by traces of plum. A smidgen of oak rounded out the medium body. The finish was abbreviated and tannic. I wanted this bottle to be fantastic as it seemed to contain all the right components. Unfortunately the flavours were rather sparse and every sip was markedly flat.
Since earthquakes are not commonplace here in New York, this afternoons’ earthquake left me with a slight case of nerves and vertigo. I decided to reach for something comforting; which means I went straightaway for a petite sirah. I was introduced a while back to petite sirahs by my father-in-law to be. He has a phenomenal cellar consisting of primarily Napa cabs with numerous other gems intermingled. (Talk about high-end and sumptuous wines, it’s really an absolute delight when I’m fortunate enough to be able to enjoy them.)
I opted for a much more budget friendly bottle of Cupcake Petite Sirah. This is a wine that I make sure I always have in my wine bar cabinet. It works for any occasion…hipster friends to occasional wine drinkers to the IPA crowd. It’s soft, smooth and fruity with flavors of blueberry and raspberry, and it finishes off with just the littlest bit of chocolatety espresso velvet. I have the teeniest complaint that I feel obligated to convey, and that is the element of spice is lacking. But for the price point, jammy, fruity enthusiasm and straightforward drinkability, I’m not going to complain. In fact, if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up with an empty bottle much quicker than you would expect.
100% Petite Sirah
Vinted and Bottled by Cupcake Vineyards
* Update 4.11.12:
Cupcake Petite Sirah 2010
Delightfully similiar to the 2009 vintage, with some enhanced bitter dark chocolate notes and traces of pink peppercorn on the finish.
Enjoy now thru 2013