WBW #40 Que Sirah Sirah

As the hostess of this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I decided it was high time I pulled out all the stops for a WBW. With that in mind, Matt and I decided to host a blind tasting of Petite Sirah in honor of WBW. We invited several of our friends over for the evening promising a wine tasting and heavy appetizers, though I am pretty sure no one quite expected that tasting I had set up!

I dug about in our cabinets for wine glasses to do the tasting. With 8 people coming and 5 wines to taste, I needed 45 wine glasses, a tall order. After routing out every wine glass we owned, I was short 4 glasses, alas, and Matt was forced to drink out of our brandy snifters. (To be honest, I was quite surprised I owned 41 wine glasses, that seems like a ton of glasses!!)

The whole table.

Next, I printed out glass placement sheets and tasting note sheets for blind tastings from Wine Country Getaways to assist everyone in ranking the wines. Guests were to score each wine on scale from 1-5 on appearance, aroma, body, taste, and finish. I gave a quick mini-lesson before we started as we had a wide range of wine experience in our group, and off we went. Before everyone arrived, Matt and I had opened the wines, and I brown-bagged them, then left the room while Matt came back and rotated the bottles, so it would be blind for us as well.

The set-up.

The contenders for the evening were 5 bottles of wine: A Mount’s Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, a Twisted Oak 2004 Petite Sirah from Lodi, a Mauritson Rockpile Winery 2005 Petite Sirah, a Connor Park 2003 Durif from Central Victoria Australia, and a David Bruce 2005 Petite Sirah from the Central Coast.

The Contenders.

Sadly, we were moving through our tasting when one of our guests reached Wine C and said it smelled funny, like tuna fish. I quickly moved to that one, and the sulfur and yes, tuna fish smell was unmistakable, leading me to believe the bottle was corked, my first ever corked bottle and of course it happened when we had guests! I told people not to bother with that one as I took one for the team and tasted it, it was just awful. We were down to 4 bottles to score then.

Our friends seemed to have a lot of fun with the tasting, no one had been to a blind tasting before, so it was a new experience for all, and there were lots of questions about Petite Sirah, wine in general, and things they were tasting in the wine. I had a great time playing wine geek and sharing what I knew with everyone!

And, drumroll please…….after all the addition, we discovered that 4 people chose Wine D as their favorite, 3 people chose Wine E, and 2 chose Wine B. One of our friends and I both tied D and E as our favorites.

Without further ado:
Wine D (the winner): 2003 Connor Park Durif from Australia
Wine E (2nd place, by a hair): 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah
Wine B (3rd place): 2005 Mounts Family Petite Sirah
Wine A (4th place): 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Petite Sirah

And the corked wine turned out to be the 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah.

Noe my notes on the wines:

Wine A: 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Winery Petite Sirah: Came in a club shipment, cost $28, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume. On the nose, I smelled alcohol and heat. In the mouth, more alcohol and heat, very tannic. I got to give a lesson on what tannins are and what it tastes like when a wine is tannic. This bottle was not ready to drink at all. A few hours later I went back and there were spices and blueberries on the nose, more berries in the mouth. Hold onto it if you’ve got it, even hours out didn’t really help this one.

Wine B: 2005 Mounts Family Winery 2005 Petite Sirah: We picked this bottle up at the winery last April when visiting Sonoma. It had a real cork closure, weighed in at 15.2% alcohol by volume and cost us $28. The nose was much fruitier than the Mauritson, spice, vanilla, blueberries. Very smooth in the mouth, berries, spicy, some blueberry. Same year as the Mauritson, but infinitely more ready to drink.

Wine C: 2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah. Corked. I purchased this just on Friday at my local wine shop for $21.99 -a 10% case discount. I’m returning the bottle with most of the wine still in it.

Wine D: 2003 Connor Park Durif: From Victoria, Australia. I picked this up for $19.99 at UnWined in Alexandria, VA, about 2 months ago. It had a real cork closure and clocked in at 15.5% alcohol by volume. On the nose, cinnamon, currants, spicy, baking spices. In the mouth, plummy red fruit, chocolate, berries, spices, pie. Very smoothed out, very much ready to drink.

Wine E: 2004 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah. I purchased this bottle from WineQ in my last club shipment for $23.99. It had a real cork closure and weighed in at 13.5% alcohol by volume. Spice, blueberry pie, vanilla, cedar and leather on the nose. In the mouth, blueberries, blackberries and spice. I thought this bottle had the freshest tasting fruit of the evening, and I tied it for first with the Connor Park.

All in all, an excellent evening, and I can’t wait to host another blind tasting. A great way to celebrate being the host of WBW this month and to educate our friends a bit on wine in general on on Petite Sirah.

I can’t wait to see what you all found for your PS, looking forward to your entries!


16 Responses

  1. Great post! I’ve been hearing about the Twisted Oak for a while, and I’m glad to hear that it packs a wallop. I also haven’t found many Aussie Durifs around here (mostly at Total Wine, which is where I do my local wine-shopping), so it was also nice to hear about UnWined. I will definitely have to make a trip and check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Too bad about the corked wine. But that was quite the impressive set-up. A girl after my own heart with the blind aspect of it. Can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with once the round-up arrives.


  3. Loved the way you did the tasting – very professional with the place mats, scoring cards and appropriate festive theme.
    Being from down under, liked the result too. Aussie wines do provide ‘bang for buck’ – and plenty of bang with 15.5% alc. It will bring a festive glow to the face with only a couple of sips.
    Pity about the corked wine. Good move to return the lot.

  4. Cool! You did Twisted Oak, too. I did not know they did a Lodi Petite; the one I tasted for WBW was a 2005 Calaveras, which is about 30 miles away up in the Sierra Foothills. Glad you liked it as much as I did!

  5. Nice flight, and nice to see you blinded them. I have two bottles – I may do both, with a blind…more later

  6. Not to be a nit-picker, but were certain shapes of glasses used with particular wines? Was there any correlation between a particular glass and the scores given?

  7. This sounds like a great way to experience WBW – with 5 wines, a blind tasting, and 8 friends…perfect! Petit Sirah was a lot of fun, thanks for choosing it and setting this up. Hopefully you and your husband can attend one of our future tastings.
    Best wishes and happy holidays 🙂

  8. First, great WBW theme – then an ambitious spread of 5 Petites and a blind tasting for a party of 8, plus wine lessons? Megan, you’re a wine renaissance woman! Glad you got to include the yummy Twisted – we only have one bottle of the 2004 left – but the 2005 Calaveras that Hunter Angler Gardener Cook mentioned is on the way! Again, super impressive – I need someone with your talents around during the holidays!

  9. Thanks for hosting this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday. I’m beyond jealous and would love to host one day! http://www.DrinksAreOnMe.net

  10. I can’t say enough about the Dollar Store for inexpensive wine glasses. You can’t beat it and having a separate stash for parties won’t break the bank. Surprisingly, quality of the glass is good, too.

  11. Hey Megan
    Great post for your host of WBW. Blind tasting, multiple wines, holy cow, you really kicked it up a notch!
    SOrry you had to dump a wine, but it still sounds like you and your friends had a great time.

    Thanks for host WBW #40.
    Anything Wine

  12. Great little tasting you put on Sonadora! Too bad about the David Bruce – they make great Petitie Sirah so you’ll have to get another bottle and report back. Good reason to support corkscrews! 🙂 At least you had many others to choose from! Great report.


  13. I think you are the 1st WBW host to also hosted a blind tasting party for the theme.
    Great job and too bad David Bruce was the corked one. From what I have learned, PS from this producer has always been top notch.

  14. Looks like you did things right Sonadora. I would’ve loved to do it blind, or at least have a few glasses per person so we could taste back and forth to compare nuances — but alas, like you, we had a tough time procuring that many glasses.

    We have our experience here: http://www.vinquire.com/blog/2007/dec/11/wine-blogging-wednesday-petite-sirah/

    It was our first attempt at WBW but we had a good time and brought a whole bunch of friends into the mix. Thanks for hosting –

  15. Megan,

    What an excellent entry. Did you have a heavy head the following day? These PS / Durif wines seem to be all around the 15% mark!

  16. Hello all-

    Thanks for all your comments.

    For the specific questions, Loweeel, I just used whatever wine glasses I had around, no specific shapes or anything. I can’t keep that many glasses on hand!

    Edward, not too heavy a head, I had plenty of help from the guests to drink the 4 bottles that were good, so not too much wine each!

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