I Can See Alaska From Here

An impenetrable puddle in your glass, staining and black out to an abrupt edge. Old world fruit greets the nose and tongue. I don’t mean funky and I don’t mean sweet and pruney, so what do I mean *old world fruit*? It’s a rusticity in the richness and concentration, a tiny bit of oxidative patina alongside unforgiving tannins. Not the teensiest bit slutty (did I tell you I finally tasted Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif last week?), this guy GETS petite sirah and makes it exactly the way I like.

I’ve been a huge fan of the variety for decades and I have my own personal unorthodox classification system for what I have identified as the 3 styles of Petite Sirah: Birthday Cake, Zinfandel, and Cornas. Imagine a 1-10 scale with birthday cake at the low end, Cornas at the 10 and Zin at the mid-point. This isn’t a scale of quality–and I’m not judging anyone’s preference–but of style. This one I would place about 8. It’s got tons of jammy fruit, you can nearly stand a fork up in it, and churning acid and tannin pucker the mouth but stop just shy of *unapproachable*. The nose pumps out match-head terrior citrus alongside calm and enragingly genteel banana peel and Vibram sole. Gorgeous figgy-strawberry fruit, quickly morphing to cherry Coke with a shot of cranberry and spearmint, a bitter chain of teeth-wiping chronic frames the hedonistic finish.

Petite Sirah is special, and the 40-50 dollar class of petite sirah is even specialererer. There’s several of them out there and this thing gets a gold star in my book every time. (you KNOW who makes this, right?)

2012 RETRO CELLARS Petite Sirah Howell Mountain Napa Valley 14.5


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