Casal Garcia Vinho Verde

Have I got some catching up to do!  Although the weather here in my area is turning frosty and gray, I drank this light white blend while it was still fairly warm.  Better late than never, I suppose.

Winemaker:  Aveleda Vinhos S.A.
Wine:  Casa Garcia Vinho Verde
Varietal:  White Blend
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Vinho Verde DOC, Portugal
Price:  $6.49 at Total Wine

Notes:  The color of this wine was a pale citron.  In the bouquet I detected gentle scents of tart peach.  It was light-bodied with the expected fizz (which settles quickly).  Alcohol was at 10%, and acidity was good.  On the tongue I caught flavors of peach, citrus and a light floral note.  Remembering the experience as I type this post makes me imagine myself sipping it once more … on a sweltering tropical beach.  Not to worry, though, it will be sweltering here again soon enough.

Oak Grove Petite Sirah Reserve 2011

I always appreciate it when somebody gives me a recommendation for a wine.  Even if it isn’t always my “cup of tea,” I can’t help but be grateful for another wine enthusiast’s impulse to share.

Those of you who drop in fairly regularly (he says hoping somebody DOES drop in regularly – lol) will know that I had a Petite Sirah over the holidays that I searched for – and found – in a Total Wine near my home town.  Because it’s a big store, I had to ask a very nice staff person for directions to the “Other Reds” section.  She not only took me to the wine I was looking for but said, “Have you had the Oak Grove?  If you haven’t, you should.”  So I did!

Winemaker: Oak Grove
Wine: Petite Sirah Reserve
Varietal: Petite Sirah
Vintage:  2011
Appellation: California
Price: $8.99 at Total Wine

Notes:  In the glass this Oak Grove selection was a very dark garnet   It was so dark that it was nearly opaque.  On the nose I got scents of dark fruit, oak, and lotion (I think lanolin is the appropriate term).  Acidity was fine but maybe just a tad on the low side.  Weight on the tongue was on the lighter side of medium as were the tannins.  Alcohol was at 13%.  Flavors were grounded by a core of black raspberry with light notes of oak and a sweet green herb – let’s call it stevia.  The finish was very long with lingering black raspberry and violets.  It was a fine glass of wine.  Unfortunately, the perception of sweetness took away a little from my personal enjoyment of it.  But that really isn’t too terrible.  It just means I get to keep sampling Petite Sirahs in my search!  Search for what?  Oh, perhaps a Petite Sirah I can call my favorite (until the next vintage is released, anyway).

A Petite Red via the Waldorf Astoria on Xmas Eve

I had the joy of spending Xmas Eve with my extended family this year.  Our hosts went all out making everyone feel right at home.  Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, etc. gathered to chew the fat, graze the good food and holiday treats, trim the tree, and have an all-around great time.  And, of course, there was wine for those of us who choose to imbibe.

One of our hosts, Mary Ann, had taken a trip to NYC earlier in the year.  While there, she dined at the Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria hotel where – besides having a wonderful steak dinner – she was introduced to Parducci Winery via their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.  In her own words, it was “flavorful with a pleasantly big mouthfeel and restrained tannins.”  She enjoyed it with her meal so much that she was inspired to find it when she got home and share the experience with her holiday guests.

But fate intervened.  It was difficult for her to find any of the Parducci wines at her local wine merchants.  When she did find them, it was not their Cabernet Sauvignon but rather their Petite Sirah that was available.  Petite Sirah, as you may know, is a French grape (also known as Durif) that is a cross between Syrah and Peloursin grapes.  At any rate, although we weren’t able to revisit her NYC steakhouse experience, we did get the chance to share a brand new wine experience together.

Winemaker: Parducci
Wine: Small Lot Blend Petite Sirah
Varietal: Petite Sirah
Vintage:  2010
Appellation: Mendocino County, California
Price: $9.99 at Total Wine

Notes:  This was a pretty wine in the glass.  It was very dark – almost opaque – purple with a beautiful rich ruby around the edges.  It had a big bouquet.  I detected exuberant blackberry and pepper, hints of spearmint, and a plentiful earthiness I think of as barnyard.  I’m sure there’s a more elegant term, but hopefully you get the idea.  It was medium-bodied and silky with good acidity and medium tannins.  Alcohol was at 14%.  Flavors for me were a core of red licorice and cherry with occasional notes of strawberry.  It was quite peppery, too, with hints of dried green herbs.  It had a nice firm tannic bite without being overbearing.  On the finish I caught notes of moss and quinine.

When I got home, I also found it difficult to find Parducci wines at my area stores until I stopped at a Total Wine in a nearby town.  They didn’t have that Cabernet Sauvignon, but I’m glad they did have the Petite Sirah.