Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Panza 2004 Stags' Leap Ranch Petite Sirah: This wine comes from one of the (if not "the") coolest wineries I've ever visited, Quixote. Located in the Stags' Leap District of Napa Valley, it's a small place off the Silverado Trail that only offers tastings by appointment, which I was fortunate enough to do with some friends last year.
If you are an architectural nut or an artsy-fartsy-type, you would really get a kick out of the Friedensreich Hundertwasser-design of the grounds; it's like you've walked right into a Dr. Seuss book, but with some tasty hooch standing in for the green eggs & ham.
Speaking of the "hooch", Quixote only bottles two varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (a staple in Napa Valley, especially Stags' Leap) and Petite Sirah. You won't find many wineries 'round California (hell, the world) who hang their hat on PS, a much-lesser-know variety of grape that's known as Durif in the Rhône Valley of France (where its "brother", the Syrah grape, is king). Similar to Syrah, Petite Sirah has an amazing bouquet of black fruits and black pepper. But, despite being described as "petite", it packs more of a wallop than Syrah. It's really inky dark in color, and very tannic, which may be a turnoff for some. But, if you like a manly wine to go with your big-ass steak or grilled lamb chops, you're in flavor country, my friend. At $40, the Panza is no steal, but it's a darn good one, especially if you're planning to hang onto it for a few years until you can afford steak again. In these lean times, Petite Sirah, especially the pitch-black '04 Panza, will not pair that perfectly with your Ramen Noodles.
You can buy all the Panza label and Quixote wines at http://www.quixotewinery.com/