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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2008 Foppiano Petite Sirah meets an American Classic

I hope you enjoyed that fun side trip to Tuscany and will seek out a few Super Tuscan's the next time you're shopping for vino, which in my mind are fantastic food pairing champions.

Speaking of food pairing the wine I'm about to introduce you to has an easy drinking wow factor. Join me as I take another spin in the wine-wagon for a trip to the wonderful Sonoma Valley and the Russian River.

Another fantastic wine from my friends at Foppiano Vineyards in Sonoma, who produced what is believed to be uncommon varietal for this area, an Russian River Valley Petite Sirah. If you are up for an visit, their tasting room is easily located on Old Redwood Highway, just south of the charming town of Healdsburg and really just down the road from "J" and Rodney Strong [god if you love Cab-Sauv as much as I do, give them swirl].

The American classic met its match here in Arizona, as I was enjoying a bit of relaxation at the Botanical Gardens, hiking the rocky, petrified-wood lined mountains and hitting the local water park. What is that American classic, well it was none-the-other than home-style meatloaf, a mouth watering blend of beef, pork and vegetables, which is slow-baked and topped with a sweet tomato compote, which really brought the dish altogether. A wonderful take out order I picked up from the huge portion house, Claim Jumper.

After a full day of water-parking and swimming a few laps in the Arizona Grand Resorts huge pool, I was jonesing for some down-home styled comfort food and this dish really delivered, sided with home-made style mash and some demi-glace slow roasted carrots and crisp zucchini. To say I was in hog heaven, would be an under-statement and paired with the Foppiano Petite Sirah it was the master stroke. I could not rave enough about how utterly winetastic this juice was, right out of the gate, no decanting, Vinturi's or Soiree's needed. Because right after the cork was popped, this wine put on a flavor and finesse clinic.

Swirly, Sniff and Slurp: This wine really travels well, as it accompanied my wife and I, on our Arizona road trip and not even a bit of bottle shock, from transport. Right after uncorking and pouring myself a few ounces, whoa a very dark, virtually opaque ruby colored core. The aromas from the glass were like a fragrant perfume, layers of nutmeg, Indian spices and vanilla and black licorice. On the palate expressive red and dark fruits, hints of toasty oak, molten licorice, bursting with blueberry and dark cherry flavors, laying on a bed of silky tannins and mouth watering acidity that lead to a pleasing albeit short finish. I was very sad, when the last drop had left my glass and you will be as well if you don't grab yourself a case of this delicious budget-friendly vino, that is as food friendly of a wine as you will find any where. Please don't doubt me, this is fantastic juice.

Special Handling: I thought it was interesting to note, that perhaps their winemakers handling of this wine is what really made the difference, in this PS finely honed and well integrated tannins. Because while many winemakers treat Petite Sirah like Cabernet Sauvignon embracing hard-edged tannins, meant for longer aging. Foppiano's winemaker, Natalie West prefers gentle-handling of her Estate Petite Sirah and goes as far as to treat it like her Pinot Noir [which I found very good]. Their PS experiences a gentle press [PS, I luv you] and is fermented in open top fermenters with punch-downs [for color extraction] three times a day. I also found the oak regiment to be very interesting, a whopping 70% was neutral oak and only 25% new french oak 5% new Hungarian oak. An interesting and refreshing approach to PS, definitely delivered the style of wine she was aiming to make. Kudos to you Natalie!

Other Voices: The folks over at the Blog Wine Cellar had this to say about the Foppiano PS, "Perhaps with a few years in bottle this wine will become even more balanced and I would guess that the bouquet will only get better over the years. Killer wine fore the price ($18-20) 89+ points" They detected a bit of heat from the 15% plus ABV, I didn't however and if it's a concern an hour of decanting could rectify the issue nicely.

What's the Score: The QPR [quality price ratio] is through the roof and a mere 89 points will not do this wine justice, so I'm giving this wine a score of 91 points and listing it as a "Best-Buy" recommendation.

Price and Purchase: This wine can be found at many locations online selling for under $15 and of course it can be purchased directly from the winery for just a bit more. With a little over six thousand cases produced, you have my drink now and drink often recommendation as this wine represents the ideal everyday drinker type of vino. It will improve with more bottle age, but why wait when it's drinking so fabulously right now.

That's is all I got for you today folks, please do yourself a favor and grab some of this very well made Petit Sirah that is smooth as silk, easy on the eyes and the wallet.  Until, next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a sample for the review process.
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