W.E.T.C.O.W. Wine Tasting Event #12- Syrah vs. Shiraz vs. Petite Syrah

(1/28/12)

Wine Info:

SYRAH: France  170,000 acres (cool – moderately warm climates) (smokey – spicy)

The Syrah grape is found most prominently inFrancein theRhonevalley.

Syrah is the only red grape allowed in the French wines from the northernRhone(Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, etc.),

In order to earn one of those names, the wine must be at least 80% Syrah.

There were many myths as to the origin of the Syrah grape. Many thought it originated inPersia, near the city ofShirazand was brought toFranceduring the Crusades in the 1300s.  In the 1990s, DNS testing showed it was actually a cross of two grapes indigenous toFrance.

Shiraz: Australia  120,000 acres (moderately warm – very warm climates) (red fruit, jammy)

Shiraz plants were first brought toAustraliain the 1830s and have been grown there ever since.

InAustralia, Syrah comprises about 40% of the planted wine grapes.

Note that it is the exact same grape as Syrah. The Australians chose to call itShiraz, after the Persian city it was believed to have come from.

Start at 2 minutes:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVHpVcTPUOo

 

SYRAH: California  20,000 acres (cool – moderately warm climates) (smokey – spicy)

Syrah was first brought toCaliforniain 1880, but the phylloxera epidemic wiped them out. It wasn’t brought back toCaliforniauntil the late 1950s and the first bottled Syrah wine from CA appeared in 1974

Petite Sirah: California 9,000 acres (hot days – cool nights – coastal areas) (dark fruit, peppery)

Petite Syrah has been grown inCaliforniasince 1880.  It was considered too tannic and strong to be bottled by itself. It was typically used in blends to add color.  Has a very dark, inky color.

Petite Syrah is actually a cross between a strain of Syrah and Peloursin, both originating inFrance. Petite Syrah is NOT the same grape as Syrah.

Petite Sirah got it’s name from it’s very small grapes. High skin to juice ratio results in strong tannins.

It’s height of popularity was during the prohibition. It’s tough, durable grapes made it the perfect choice to ship by train to home winemakers and bootleggers.

In 1961, Concannon Vinyards became the first producer to bottle Petite Sirah on it’s own as an experiment.

Acres of Petite Sirah plantings increased greatly in the 60s and 70s as unbeknownst to many, it was a big part of jug wine blends such as Gallo Hearty Burgundy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVC6lVFfSrM&feature=related

 

The Wines:

 

Domaine Des Hauts Chassis Les Galets (Crozes-Hermitage) – 2009 – $19.99

Crozes-Hermitage is an appellation for wines from an area on the eastern bank of the  Rhone river in theNorthernRhoneValley.

Made only in the best years, Les Galets is an assemblage of old vines, farmed on eponymously pebbly soils. Toasty, rich and brooding of hue and intent, this will open up over time, bolstered by finely grained tannins and a warm, peppery finish.

Clear very deep crimson and purple. An expressive nose of spice, fruit and jam with vanilla, Havana tobacco, cacao, liquorice, black cherry, morello cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry. A full warm fruity well-balanced mouth with fine lively tannins giving it a good long finish.

 

Mitolo Jester Shiraz (McLaren Vale) 2009 – $15.99

The grapes come from the Willunga district of McLaren Vale (near Adelade), where the heavy grey loam soils over sandstone, intermixed with black Biscay clay, combined with the maritime climate, contribute to an even ripening period and the development of rich fruit flavours and ripe tannins.

Colour • Opaque dark crimson colour with deep black crimson hue
Nose • Blackberry, liquorice and dark plums:
Palate • Displays abundant flavours of liquorice, blackberry and dark fruits. Exceptional balance, refinement and generousity of flavour.

 

Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah (CA – Lodi} – 2009 – $15.99

Deep garnet in color, this wine exhibits aromas of dark fruits, tobacco, leather and  pepper. On the palate, there are with layers of plum, chocolate, tobacco and exotic spices. Th­is wine is mouth filling with bright fruit, velvety texture and exceptional balance. Lodi is northwest of San Franciscoin theSacramentoValley.  Summers are known for warm days and cool nights.

 

Girard Petite Sirah (CA – Napa Valley – 2009

98% Petite Sirah, 2% Zinfandel

 

The 2009 vintage Petite Sirah is an inky, dark, fruit-forward wine with aromas of baked black cherry tart, dark plum, Tahitian vanilla bean, anise and allspice; on the palate, there’s a balance of integrated, firm tannins and bright acidity with a soft, spicy and lingering finish

 

The Mystery Wine:

Glen Ellen, Petite Sirah, “Proprietor’s Reserve” 2007 – ($7.99/1.5 Liter) – Ruby-purple in color with aromas of blueberry and strawberry. Bright blueberry and plum flavors with a nice red fruit finish and no tannins. A fruit bomb a lot of people will like and a terrific value.

 

The Scores:


Taster

Domaine Des Hauts Chassis Les Galets (Crozes-Hermitage) – 2009 – $19.99

Mitolo Jester Shiraz (McLaren Vale) 2009 – $15.99

Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah (CA – Lodi} – 2009 – $15.99

Girard Petite Sirah (CA – Napa Valley – 2009 – $23.99

Glen Ellen, Petite Sirah, “Proprietor’s Reserve” 2007 – ($7.99/1.5 Liter)

 

 

Al B.

81

88

90

92

85

Sue B.

80

89

91

85

91

Eric D.

84

87

89

91

91

Zelma D.

86

88

90

91

94

Felix G.

90

94

85

91

78

Lisa G.

88

91

88

89

95

John M.

77

87

85

86

85

Marlene M.

79

91

86

85

84

Angie O.

89

86

92

89

96

John O.

87

91

87

93

89

 

 

 

Average Score:

84.1

89.2

88.3

91.2

88.8


 

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