Saturday, January 4, 2014

Biale Vineyards "Royal Punishers" Petite Syrah

We would like to introduce a grape varietal that you may not have seen in a while. Once we tried this petite sirah, we knew we had to add it to our list. Although it is a little on the higher end, we feel this amazing red will surely make your next meal with us.

This deep ruby red with dark fruit character and full body is from Robert Biale vineyards, located in Napa Valley. This is their "Royal Punishers" Petite Sirah, 2011 vintage.

Although the origins of this grape are from France, California has seemingly taken over as the best place to grow this grape in recent years. The name "Petite" refers not to the size of the vines, but rather to the size of the grapes themselves. In fact, the high skin to juice ratio that accompanies the small berries allows petite sirah or "also referred to as pets" to produce wines with high tannins and acidity, components that give them the ability to age well like a cabernet sauvignon.

The petite sirah grape was first developed in the 1870s in France's Rhone wine region and is the result of a cross between Syrah and a relatively minor variety, Peloursin. This rationale for this cross was to give Syrah a greater ability to resist mildew in the humid Rhone wine region, but the resulting grape never really caught on in France. California, with its drier climate, allows this grape to thrive in these conditions. Although it was primarily used as a blending grape (think zinfandel), the last century has seen this grape grow in popularity as its own varietal.

Biale has been producing amazing pets and zins on a farm located on the outskirts of Napa for over 70 years. Their "Royal Punishers" has dense blackberry fruit character, black pepper notes, licorice and smoke.

This wine is an excellent pair to any one of our steaks offered on our menu. Or try it with our herb crusted leg of lamb on a Saturday evening.

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