Pros: Smooth, flavorful, good comfort wine
Cons: Not something I would enjoy beyond cold weather - too hefty
Always one to want to find a new cozy comfort red for cool winter nights (hey, we had like 4 or 5 of them up here in New England this year!) I was excited for the opportunity to taste Handcraft Artisan Collection Petite Sirah 2010. Petite Sirah is definitely at the top of my list of grapes/wines that fit the cozy category for me, and at $14 it could find a way into my winter rotation if it passed muster!
The bottle is quite attractive, dark glass that's Burgundy shaped, a flower/bird/wine barrel/grape decor in a ribbon over a basic white background, signature of the proprietor at the bottom. To me that almost was like a guarantee, that she declared the bottle acceptable and ready for the excited consumer. The foil covering the (real) cork was dark purple with the signature once again, in gold script.
The Handcraft Vineyards is in California but run by a family with Italian heritage and although the Petite Sirah varietal is not Italian, once I dug around a bit I discovered that the actual blend is 82% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Sangiovese, 3% Syrah, 3% Zinfandel. The Sangiovese is the Italian nod! Some may also consider the Zinfandel a tribute as well, better known as Primitivo in Italy, the grape is the closest one California has to a native grape. The wine is aged 4-6 months in oak (90% French & 10% American) and the alcohol content is 14.5% by volume.
The wine pours an inky red-purple, and the scents were surprisingly faint. Light blueberry, leather, and surprisingly, stone/mineral/concrete. (I couldn't quite narrow it down more than that, sorry) The scents were definitely representative of the flavor; rich, dark berry, a bit of bark and leather-but really only enough to keep the juicy fruits from tasting sweet. The wine is definitely fruity, but I would never say sweet. It reminds me of blueberry juice, or grape-cranberry juice, but in fruit flavors only. The texture is rich, full bodied although not heavy weighted. It's cool but big, smooth but with texture and layers. The finish is quick yet unchanging, leaving a lightly dry mouth with no filmy sweetness.
Wines like this are hard to pair for me. I want to drink them on their own, to be honest, in a way I call 'hot chocolate wine'. That last beverage before bed, to sooth and unwind you and warm you insides, this is a good example of my idea of a cozy comfort wine. However I do think it'd do well with big meats- steak, ribs, BBQ in general, as well as with lamb and pork that have particularly bold seasoning or garnish.
I really enjoyed this wine, and know that I will be repeatedly enjoying this wine for as long as I can find it and as long as the price doesn't go up. I have an unfortunate luck with wine; it seems once I find and grow attached to something, it either stops being made or suddenly jumps in price. Until then, however, the Handcraft Artisan Collection Petite Sirah 2010 will become a staple for my cool weather wine list.
For more information about this winery and their products visit http://www.handcraftwines.com/
**Thanks so much to Bruguru for adding this for me!!**