Non Petite

Literally the darkest blackest thickest purple-blue red liquid I have ever seen in a glass. A warm-weather nose basking in hot soil, dusty leaves and Hawaiian Punch concentrate spills little bits of vegetal over around the edges but in the center a crease of petrichor opens with each fresh swirl.

I’ve only tasted this wine at the winery, I don’t think I have ever purchased it before. Or had it at one of their fabulous parties. Maybe they haven’t poured it for me, but you’d THINK I would remember it–being one of my favorite varieties. Cardella is this fabulous little place out in the middle of NOWHERE on I-5 at Mendota. Here’s the deal: This is a long-term grape, produce, and nut-farmer in the Central Valley who sells mainly hi-yield tonnage to the usual suspects of giant producers to turn into liquid most of the people reading this blog would not consider buying or consuming. But–being wine lovers, and Italians–they take a few special rows on the estate, and treat them differently: pruning them differently, watering and feeding them differently, dropping fruit and ripening them differently, so as to have much lower-yielding, hi-quality, hand-picked fruit.

And the place is gorgeous. A stone villa, gardens with koi ponds and lily-pads, giant expanses of lawns… An absolute mecca in the rather uneventful expanse of the Central Valley. And only a couple miles off I-5. so next time you’re driving to grandma’s house or headed to Disneyland, pull off at Mendota and go visit Cardella. Interesting place.

In the mouth, this substantial Petite Sirah takes some of the coffee grounds in the nose and sprinkles them on the dark chocolate flooding the tongue. It takes some of that fruit punch and extracts thick black cherry from it, running it roughly through the mouth, bouncing a little baby-fat off the sides and a little bitter grime coming up, warning you of impending tannins ahead. I mean… it IS petite sirah after all. Didn’t think you were going to get away without a little whiplash, now didja?

This thing’s big and ripe, but the thing about Cardella is: these wines are never hi-alcohol. This thing is massive, but I do not think it is over 14-5. That’s my guess. Big round, ripe pear and melon and intense berry seal the finish, with a bit more warm-weather viscosity. This is a bruiser–and always a great price. THESE ARE 20-DOLLAR WINES. Order yourself a mixed case. Get a bunch of everything. If you don’t like them, I’ll refund your money.

2016 CARDELLA WINERY Petite Sirah Francesco’s VYD Mendota California 14.25

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