This was our third comparison of California Petite Sirah (the last time was in December 2013), and we left very happy with the results. All bottles received points, were well-made, and our favorites were also excellent values. Interestingly, the two most expensive wines came in last, and were also from the same producer, though different vintages.
All were intensely colored, with dark, tooth-staining extraction and robust flavors typical of this grape.
First Place: Michael David Petite Sirah Petite Petit 2016 (Lodi). Very thick coating in the glass, with a nose suggesting dust, dry basement, must, Arizona sand, dry autumn leaves, cloves, vanilla, and coffee. Some solid up-front tannin, showing flavors of blackberry, prune, and blueberry. Cathy noted that "this has the whole package." Exhibited overall harmony and balance. Andy, Ali, and David's favorite of the night, with a total of 25 points. Mark's bottle. About $18.
Second Place: McManis Petite Sirah 2017 (California). Dark opaque purple. Tasters found complex scents of fresh laundry, blueberry, toasty oak, seedy rye bread, cinnamon, a bouquet of fall flavors, and maple syrup. Smells dense. Very smooth, and almost creamy in the mouth, with cinnamon on the attack, then notions of licorice, roasted coffee, and citrus. Full-bodied, dense and extracted, with a bit of heat. Ali felt that "the whole thing tastes like a citrus torte with a berry on top of it", while Cathy commented that "I'm a believer." Cathy and Kristin's favorite, having a total of 22 points. Ali's bottle. About $13.
Third Place: Michael David Petite Sirah Earthquake 2015 (Lodi). Intensely purple colored, with a nose of vanilla, menthol aftershave, a touch of bleach or cleanser, brown sugar, pine, cedar, and cinnamon graham cracker. Manly. A touch more acidity in this one, presenting itself as red grapefruit flavors, but also blackberry, blueberry, cloves, black pepper, and copper metallic flavors. Spicy, with plenty of fruit. Autumnal. Received 15 points. Kristin's bottle. About $20.
Cupcake Petite Sirah 2013 (Central Coast). Not as purple as some of the others. A dusty nose, including rose petal, pomegranate, blueberry, green bell pepper, and straw. A bit more dull. Ali detected "wet beach sand." Smooth in the mouth, with a bit more acidity, and reminiscent of kale on the attack. Offered flavors of tobacco, cherry, blueberry, bitter greens, and brine. Chewing tobacco and coffee on the shorter finish. Mark's favorite. Received 13 points. Cathy's bottle. About $10.
Stags' Leap Petite Sirah 2016 (Napa Valley). Purple. Dusty, with other scents of roses, flowers, old book, coffee, anise, and blackberry. A little candied, and a little simple, with a hint of wet cardboard, it feels a little flat, and more single note. Fruit on the attack, but is overall one dimensional. Kristin was reminded of clapping erasers. Received 5 points. Andy's bottle. About $39.
Stags' Leap Petite Sirah 2015 (Napa Valley). The nose suggested new sneakers, rubber, plastic, and petroleum. Also, a little fishy, like sardines, but did include brighter fruit of raspberries, and a hint of leather. More raspberries in the mouth, with some noticeable tannin and red cherry flavors, ending a little short. Received 4 points. David's bottle. About $40.