No idea where this wine came from, but I have several in the cellar. Kinda on a forgotten aisle and when I saw the “2008”, I was, like, GOTTA DO IT. So glad I did. This wine exemplifies the old-school California Petite Sirah game, and–not surprisingly–is NOT tired or gone. Black and impenetrable in the glass, there is no light shining through, the bare glimpse of ruby at the absolute rim staining and un-bricked. Chalky newsprint delirium in the nose, a concentration of fruit so alive and well and completely un-pruned or flabby as to set your expectations back several decades. Which is what good Petite Sirah SHOULD do. I reminisce to the books in my library toting California PS as an unapproachable mash of nectar and tannin akin to Hermitage and Cornas, never releasing its grip or becoming accessible for several decades. THIS is that wine. The fruit in the bouquet is fresh and alive, young and spritely, a briary, weedy tincture of cherry and pomegranate RIPPING with acid and the base nuances of dirty sex.

Tasting it envelopes all your Dry Creek Valley and classic California dreams. Nowhere is a bit of residual sugar or high-octane heat or fermentation-stoppages. It plows through with massive structure, dry and abrasive, fruit dripping from every pore, the massive cherry and mineralific weedy briar nearly choking in intensity. This wine isn’t ridiculously complex, but where it lacks in that regard in MORE than makes up for in vibrant terroir and near-disgusting aplomb. Acidic and dry, tannin impossible to ignore, it barely flirts with tertiary, as those nuances are many years off in surfacing–the balance of young fruit still almost-cloying in sedentary calm and obfuscation.

A Petite Sirah to judge all by, this thing brings everything back to SQUARE ONE in quality California classic-variety winemaking. Buy as much as you can afford.

2008 OPTIMA Petite Sirah Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County 14.5


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