Line 39 2013 Petit Sirah California $9.99
Available at WholeFoods
It was my night to cook, so I was planning on al fresco dining with a menu consisting of an appetizer of cheese, main course of cheese, and a dessert of cheese. The perfect accompaniment would be a full bodied red and a crusty baguette. Bon appetit! Although this meal may not seem well rounded, I think displays of culinary acumen are highly overrated and should be supplanted by consumption and enjoyment. After drinking a green juice, eating a dry chicken breast and doing 50 burpees, I was ready for a heaping serving of self gratification. (I embellished my penance – I actually drank a green juice while spying on a crow rummage through my neighbor’s trash, that’s cheese worthy right?)
The cheese department at my neighborhood WholeFoods is conveniently adjacent to the wine department, wow, how ingenious. I selected three cow’s milk cheeses. First course was a mild nutty Gouda, next a strong, sharp English Seaside Cheddar, and finished the meal with a Dolcelatte (fattier cousin of Grogonzola, if you can believe that.) I pivoted 5 feet to the wine aisle and searched for a bold red to meet the challenge. Looking at the bottom shelf, the hang tags screaming “sale” caught my eye and I found a Petit Sirah for a deal – $8.99 which was a buck off retail of $9.99. Score!
Petit Sirah is actually the Durif variety of red wine grape. It is called “Petit Sirah” because the fruit is recognizably smaller and it is a hybrid of Syrah pollen germinating a Peloursin plant. It’s a full bodied grape that is often used as a blending partner to strengthen other wines.
Once home, I opened the bottle to let it breathe. My expectations were not high as I know all too well the dangers of this job. Once poured, I was optimistic as the nose was immediately a delightful plummy spice, very aromatic. First sip, was very jammy, full bodied, dark cherries, ripe plum, balanced tannins not much acid and a satisfying finish. By golly, this wine is thoroughly enjoyable. Perfect to drink right now with rich Italian foods, pasta, tomato sauce, BBQ and my triumvirate of cheese. It tamed the richness of the Dolcelatte and gave the simplicity of the Gouda a kick. I believe the best accompaniment was the English cheddar, where the sharp saltiness was perfectly match with the fruit of the wine. Add that crunch from the baguette – heaven!
This wine is highly quaffable, a great price and widely available through Whole Foods in the US. It’s not a wine for a sophisticated palate to perseverate over the complexities but that’s not always the point either. It’s very fruit forward, ripe berries with a jammy boldness that pairs best with stronger flavors. Would be the perfect companion to a prime rib, or an Alfredo cream sauce but not a delicate terrine. It’s definitely guest worthy and nearly case worthy!
Another upside to this wine is the label. It is as tasteful as the wine and has an interesting story about the origin of the name which is derived from the 39th parallel that runs through the wine country of California. This is a great bottle to bring as a guest to dinner. No cutesy name and anthropomorphic mascots, just a clever story behind the wine to make it memorable. The host and other guests will have no idea you spend 1/3 of what they thought you did, how generous of you!