Meet the Grape: Whoever thought of the name Petite Sirah obviously didn’t take into account the true characteristics of the grape. First of all, the varietal is anything but petite. This French transplant is known, rather, for making muscular, spicy, tannic wines that reveal more approachable boysenberry and chocolate flavors after years of aging. The Wine Spectator’s James Laube put it this way: “Petite Sirah fans need a big cellar and a lot of patience.” Hmm, what’s a New Yorker without a cellar to do? Buy the oldest Petite Sirah you can and brace yourself for a mouth-puckering, peppery red.
P.S. I Love You: Just like Petite Sirah, barbeque is all about patience, whether it’s slow-cooking meat or letting beans simmer to perfection. Petite Sirah is best paired with robustly flavored red meats and game, so you know you’re fine with almost anything in the barbeque genre, particularly ribs and rotisserie chicken smothered in tangy barbeque sauce.
Two Under Ten: Here’s a surprise from Mexico that you don’t have to beat out of a piñata: The gutsy 2000 L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah for $7.99, with hints of blackcurrant and some chocolate.