Goin’ back to Cali, to Cali…

First of all, a big THANKS to Seth Long of Seler d’or Wine Consulting/Blog-writin’ for including me as a guest blogger in his “29 Days of Chardonnay” collaborative effort!  There were some truly inspired posts about the wondrous little grape known as Chardonnay, and I’m glad to have been a part.  For anyone that didn’t read my post, check it out!  I was a little intimidated by all the mad knowledge being dropped by some serious heavy-hitters in the Wine World, so I went with a pretty jovial and interactive post, and I was pretty happy with how it came out.  So by all means, read it!

In honor of the 29 Days of Chardonnay, I wanted to share an awesome Chard we poured recently, and still have in stock.  We also got in a brand new Petite Sirah that I just HAVE to share.  So this has turned into a post about California.  Good old Cali!

funny name, good wine.

So let us begin with the Stuhlmuller Vineyards Chardonnay, 2009 Alexander Valley.  This is by far one of my favorite California Chards I’ve had in a loooog while.  A beautiful bright lemony color, it literally be glimmerin’ and shinin’ in the glass.  Incredibly clear and clean, just looking at it pretty much makes you want to drink it.  Pretty, warm aromas of meyer lemon and other fun fruits like figs, pineapple, kiwi and minerally hints are just gorgeous.  Flavors of green apple, citrus and lemon blossom are beautifully and expressively layered.  Are you an “oakaphobe?”  Try this!!  It’s made with just French oak, only 8% of which was new (the newer the oak, the more of its oakiness it imparts).  Normal retail on this guy is $22.  But if you’re reading this, and you come pick up a bottle (or two or four… til’ they’re gone) at Cellar THIS WEEK ONLY- you can have it for $19.  You just have to tell us you read this!  Wine Enthusiast gave it 91 points and Robert Parker gave it 89!  I actually didn’t know that until I sat down to write this.  Props!

Next up is the Ballentine “Fig Tree Vineyard” Petite Sirah, 2008 St. Helena.  A bit of background on how I came about this wine; from time to time, I have to suffer through different wine companies Portfolio Shows.  I believe I’ve mentioned these before.  So basically there’s a big room, or several rooms, full of open bottles of wine in allllll price ranges, and I have to go through and taste them.  It’s really the absolute worst part of my job.  I mean, open wine and a room full of wine people?  Terrible.  So I came upon this wine at the very end of a long afternoon of wine tasting, and was completely struck by how good it was AND how reasonable it was in price.  This after tasting some serious heavy-hitters.  Also, a ton of our regulars adore Petite Sirah- so I was stoked to find a new one to share.  True to form, this wine was a favorite at it’s first wine sale appearance two weeks ago, and its currently a by-the-glass pour as well!  So you can come taste it any old time you want.  But beware- it’s only 1050 cases produced, so that means it very well could go bye-bye at some point, if we keep selling it at this rate!

Speaking of 1050 cases produced, that is another crucial point- a small-production California wine for this price is pretty unheard of (we’re selling it retail for $20!).  Now lets move on to how it tastes!  A whopper of a palate- big notes of boysenberries, blackberry liqueur, blueberries, a tight core of spice and purple-teeth-inducing density.  It’ll be worth having purple teeth to drink this guy up.  Meaty and manly, yet with soft edges, remarkable smoothness, and no flabbiness.  Nice hints of black pepper, sage, vanilla and caramel.  A truly delicious bottle of wine.  A dream come true for your next rainy day beef stew, roasted lamb or big ‘ol steak.  Enjoy this now while we still have these chilly nights!

Hope you enjoyed this Cali post, I’m gonna wrap it up for today.  I’m jetting off to Vegas on Thursday, so if you follow me on twitter, be prepared to hear about all the ridiculous wine I’ll be drinkin’!

Michael David “Petite Petit,” 2007 Lodi

I’m suffering from something of a “wine whiplash” today- a term we cleverly invented last night to describe the drastic switch from all my delicate, refreshing summer white picks of the last few weeks to this week’s pick- the gargantuan behemoth of a wine that is Michael David’s ‘Petite Petit.’  A very cool blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot from the Lodi region of California.

**pause to admire my new desk set-up!  You can’t see it that well, but it’s pretty sweet and I feel very official.  Wave to the picture of my friend Greg in the background- blowing up a balloon and wearing a birthday hat.  Now if I could just organize it so that random pieces of mail, cameras, screwdrivers, water glasses, paint cans, broken staplers… and a few other things weren’t all over it, I’d be a real grown-up.  One day.  Moving on…

This wine has been something of a showstopper for the last few weeks at Cellar and Mr. Friendly’s- we’re both pouring it by the glass, and it’s been one of our best retail sellers.  Just last night a gentleman came in raving about his dinner at Mr. Friendly’s, and did we sell the wine he just drank?  the one with the carnival on the front?  I said, yes of course- $16  bottle- and fetched him a bottle.  He paused… and then said- “On second thought, just give me a case.”  Like I said- it’s popular.

And with good reason- this thing has atomic-like levels of fruit, oak, spice, bacon- yes, bacon!- all up in it.  Parker gave it 88 points- a reasonable score, but I think considering the fact that it’s so reasonably priced it deserved a 90.  Just sayin’.  On first whiff you get a massive hit of cloves, vanilla, a little hint of flowery-violets, and then- whoah!  BACON!  mmmmmmmm,  yes- bacon in a glass.  Does it get better than that?  Juicy cherries, cedar, blackberries and maybe a bit of fig follow.  Parker calls it a “civilized” Petite Sirah- a grape that is notorious for being too tannic and feral for it’s own good.  It’s used as a blending grape in a lot of circumstances- especially with Zinfandel to tone down and tighten up it’s jammy quality.

In the course of writing this I stumbled into this cool website devoted entirely to fans of Petite Sirah- worth a look-over, it’s pretty funny…. http://www.psiloveyou.org/

Here’s a better look at the image on the front of the bottle.  Elephants are a good choice for a graphic- this wine is big and burly like an elephant, but also smart and purposeful.  Did I mention I love elephants?  Always have.

In conclusion, lest you think I do anything without a good reason- I didn’t switch up from my summer wine kick completely- this wine, although massive, is ALSO a great summer wine!  Know why?!  One word- BURGERS!  Summertime means grilling out!  And with the smokey bacony characteristic of this wine it would be absolutely SUBLIME with a burger.  I even have a perfect burger, one that I devoured last night and thoroughly enjoyed… I don’t know the name of it, but it was from Pawley’s Front Porch and it was blackened with bacon and pimento cheese and it was heaven!  And how convenient- you can place a take out order from Pawleys, run up to Cellar and pick up a bottle of Petite Petit, and then head home to feast on the couch.  At least that’s what I would do.  Just an idea.

It would also taste pretty darn good with the famous Bacon Wrapped Filet with French Quarter Pimento Cheese from Mr. Friendly’s, just in case you thought I had forgotten my allegiances completely.  Ask for Daniel.  He will take good care of you.  And if you’ve never had the oysters from Mr. F, (which would be shocking, to say the least) Daniel will make sure you get two different sauces on the side so you can decide which one you like better.  (That was for you, Fomby).

Well happy drinking, happy Spring, and happy grilling out!  Enjoy the weather!  Seacrest out.