In Praise of Petite Sirah: PS I Love You, Old Creek Ranch Winery + Four Brix!

Every third Friday in February, 800 or so Petite Sirah enthusiasts gather at Rockwall Winery in Alameda CA to sing the praises of Petite Sirah at the always sold out in advance PS I Love You event, Dark and Delicious which features 50 some dark Petite Sirahs paired with 25 or more delicious dishes. Tickets are $65–and if you want one, you better buy it immediately!

Since Que Syrah Sue and I can not make it up north for the festivities, we decided to have our own Dark and Delicious evening at my house in Ventura. We each brought one of our favorite Ventura County winery Petite Sirahs to the table along with various cheeses and other bites.

What to eat with your Petite? Ideas from Ellen Landis at PS I Love You Symposium

Bg4dpUsCAAA1L3D-1My contribution was the Continue reading

February Fun Part 3: Bordeaux Wine Party, Dark & Delicious = Petite Sirah

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Isn’t the internet grand? I can participate in wine events in two different countries in 48 hours and still sleep in my own bed! Here’s a few more events for February Fun–celebrating wines from Bordeaux then Petit Sirah!

  • Feb 20-21: 24 hours of Bordeaux starting at midnight Feb 21, Bordeaux Time:

                       Weds. Feb 20 4-8pm Pacific Time Bordeaux Twitter Wine Party

                       Thu. Feb. 21 6-8pm GMT City of Bordeaux Twitter Wine Party

February Fun Part 2: Valentine’n Wine, Steven Kent, Garagiste South

Will you be my Valentine? Please vote for me to go to Chile!
http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/302/contests/310099/voteable_entries

Welcome to February Fun –the Fat Tuesday edition where I’ll share details about this week’s events.

  • Tue. Feb. 12 Fat Tuesday
  • Thu. Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day
  • Thu. Feb. 14-18 Valentine n Wine, Ventura County
  • Fri. Feb. 15 Twitter Tasting 4-6pm PST Steven Kent Winery
  • Sat. Feb. 16 Garagiste South Tasting, Solvang
  • Thu. Feb. 21 City of Bordeaux Twitter Wine Party
  • Fri. Feb. 22 Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah Tasting, Rock Wall, Alameda

Tue. Feb. 12 Fat Tuesday!

Did you know today is Pancake Day? Do you know why? (And what do you pair with pancakes??) According to wikipedia, during Lent, people often give up rich foods including butter, milk and eggs, key ingredients in pancakes. Because so many people would use these ingredients up by making pancakes the day before Lent, it became known as PANCAKE DAY! (What do YOU pair with pancakes and syrup? Riesling? Something sparkling and a bit sweet?)

While I suggested pancakes for dinner to my husband, Chef Tim Kilcoyne at The Sidecar Restaurant is doing it up right with gumbo and oyster po boys and more–with oysters from the Jolly Oyster, of course–and my husband has got his hopes up for that!

Th Feb 14-18 Valentine n Wi2013_ValentineWine_Largene, Ventura County: Starting on Valentine’s Day and going all weekend is the third annual Valentine n Wine passport weekend event in Ventura County. Continue reading

PS WE Love You (and Concannon too!)

Last year I had such a great time at PS I Love You’s Dark and Delicious event held at the Rosenblum’s Rock Wall Winery in Alameda tasting an amazing collection of Petite Sirahs paired with delectable bites from prestigious restaurants from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A few wineries, like Twisted Oak, also shared verticals of their Petite Sirahs. It’s always fun and insightful to taste through the years of a particular varietal.

Of course that’s me with the purple teeth in this picture from last year’s event with my new friend Jerae-Ione Knutson aka Red Wine Girl and Thea Dwelle of the blog Luscious Lushes and on Twitter as WineBratSF. Oh, we ALL have purple teeth–that’s Petite Sirah for you!

Since this year I’m missing out on all the fun, fine wine, and tasty bites that’s going on tomorrow, I decided in honor of this year’s Dark and Delicious to open three wines from the original King of Petite Sirah, Concannon. The Concannons started farming, growing wine grapes, and making wine in the Livermore valley in 1883. Over 50 years ago, they started growing and making Petite Sirah as a single varietal. While most vintners use Petite Sirah as a blending grape, the Concannons believed in the varietal and bottled it alone to showcase its depth, color and richness. Jim Concannon, who I met at his big birthday shindig last summer (and where I tasted a TON of Petite Sirah! and more notes here), put Petite Sirah on the California map. As a tribute to his father, his son Jim, at the birthday bash, presented his father as well as the celebrants with his new blend, Crimson & Clover, which showcases Petite Sirah blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Annie Any-Day, Bacchus Schmaccus, Marshall Moneybags and I gathered recently to enjoy a steak dinner and to taste the 2009 Crimson & Clover plus the 2007 and 2008 Conservancy Petite Sirahs, all media samples which retail at under $20 and with alcohols from 13.5-13.7%. We served seared steaks, baked potatoes, asparagas and thoroughly enjoyed the wines and the time.

The Crimson & Clover Concannon Conservancy 2009 is sweet to start with dryness on finish, black cherry fruit overtones, tannin skin nose, adequate balance with enough complexity to keep it interesting.  Tasted with cheeses:  good with brie and mushroom cheese, ok with italian truffle cheese, and GREAT with chocolate cheddar.  The color of Draculas blood and reminiscent of gothic churches.  “I want to drink your blood,” we teased.

We agreed that this Crimson & Clover red wine blend would be a great “gateway” red wine for the typical American white wine drinker. Continue reading

What to eat with your Petite? Ideas from Ellen Landis at PS I Love You Symposium

After over three weeks on the road, and tasting wine in Idaho, Walla Walla Washington and the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I made it Monday July 25 to Jim Concannon’s birthday dinner to celebrate his 80th and Petite Sirah at the PS I Love You Petite Sirah Symposium Tuesday July 26 at Concannon Winery in Livermore. (Links to participating wineries and those discussed below the jump; here’s a blog post by Jo Diaz about the events. Pictured below is Jim Concannon’s son John honoring him; pictured above is Karen Leslie who sat next to me).

What to eat with your Petite? If a summer time dinner or lunch outside under the table grape arbor at Concannon is any indication, it’s barbeque tri-tip, chicken, and beans!

But there is more to life than barbeque, so at Tuesday’s Petite Sirah symposium, Ellen Landis, Sommelier, proprietor of Landis Shores Luxury Inn, and author of Ellen on Wine shared some of her ideas on which foods pair best with Petite Sirah. I tried valiantly to take notes which she spoke; unfortunately, many of them were lost when I lost my internet connection! But basically, her main point was:

Drink what YOU like.

Since there are different styles of Petite sirah, the question really is which style goes with which food.

A basic rule of thumb is to match or contrast–match heavy meals with heavier wine styles, match flavor profiles or contrast them. Avoid pairing delicate dishes (like sole) with a powerful wine like Petite.

Here are some specific ideas:

How to gain creaminess with Petite Sirah? Landis suggest beef stroganoff paired with Rock Wall 2009. She also had specific suggestions of which Petite Sirah would go best with beef or pork tenderloin. At lunch I sat with Rock Wall winemaker Shauna Rosenblum (and yes I will be blogging about her soon! What a great story!) and tasted her Rock Wall 2009 Gamble Ranch that afternoon. This wine retails at $30 and is very rich and creamy in a cream soda or root beer float kind of way, very spicy, maple syrup, and chocolate malt.

Ellen Landis noted that the French pair red wines with fish–so don’t be afraid! She says try a blackened salmon with a PS; Ellen paired hers with a fruity Michael David PS which is 50% PS with 50% Petite verdot.

While most of us think of Petite Sirah as going with meat, vegetarians can enjoy PS with eggplant parmagiana with a variety of petite sirah styles. PS stands up to the fullness of the sauce and the creamy mozzarella allows the tomato sauce to work well and not clash.

Cheeses with Petite Sirah are great as a dessert course. For most palates, the wine should be as sweet as the dessert Continue reading

P.S. I Love You Presents “Dark & Delicious”

Tonight P.S. I Love You, a Petite Sirah advocacy group led by Jo Diaz, presents “Dark & Delicious” to Petite Sirah and foodie fans who can get to the SF Bay Area tonight,  Friday night February 19, 2010.

I am one of those Petite Sirah fans who thought she could get there. But alas, no. Life intervened–my husband had a major accident and that will curtail our travels and activities for the next three months.

And so instead of joining Petite Sirah fans up there to taste PS from 45 wineries, I will join them via cyber space, tasting and tweeting PS I Love You and a blog post too tomorrow. I pulled from my cellar a Twisted Oak PS 2006 from a recent Twisted Few shipment and winemaker Michael Meagher gave me 2007 Napa PS from Old Creek Ranch Winery for the occasion. (Hmmn, I know Twisted Oak is a member of PS I Love You and I bet El Jefe himself will be there tonight; I wonder if Old Creek Ranch Winery is a member yet?)

And instead of trying all those fabulous foods from the amazing restaurants represented at Dark & Delicious, well, since we can’t leave the house because of that injury to my spouse, the plan is to bring food home from Main Course and Prime Steakhouse.

Oh and if this post makes you want to attend, unless you already have tickets, you’ll have to go with me next year because it sold out a week ago.