Winery: Monte de Oro
Product/Varietal: Petite Sirah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
My first entry! This will likely be an iterative process, so please excuse any inconsistencies compared to future ratings/reviews.
How They Describe It
“A dry, full-bodied wine with a balance of high acidity, tannins and alcohol with a nice jammy taste. Its bouquet consists of plums, blackberries and black cherries with distinct aromas of oak and vanilla. You can enjoy these fruits upon taste coupled with raisin toast & honey and flavors reminiscent of vanilla, licorice, perhaps bacon and tobacco. The finish lingers with a long pepper finish complimenting the fruit.”
How I Describe It
When you pour the 2014 Petite Sirah into a glass for the first time, the first thing you’ll notice is the richly deep, inky ruby color. There is almost a touch of purple, it’s that dark.
The first thing I sensed was a woody cedar note from the oak aging, and a blast of black pepper, cranberry, and black fruit. Baking spices round out the bouquet.
At first sip, what you’ll notice is the trifecta of high tannin, acid, and alcohol. The first two balance each other well, neither over-watering your mouth nor leaving it feeling like sandpaper. The alcohol is apparent, but not as much as you’d expect for a wine with almost fortified wine level ABV.
Next, you’ll notice tart-bitter cranberry, which mellows into ripe cherry. Layers of black pepper and meaty leather keep the wine interesting. And the woody cedar notes from the new oak are very apparent.
Why is This Wine Special?
Monte de Oro is a Temecula winery which makes impressive reds — if not only for the quality, because all of their wines use estate grown grapes. In other words, the Monte de Oro winemaking team oversees the entire process from bud to bottle.
Monte de Oro’s 2014 Pitate Sirah fits the description, with 100% estate grown Petite Sirah grapes. The wine was aged for 30 months in a combination of new and neutral oak. Only 450 cases were produced.
What’s especially surprising is the alcohol content. Grapes grown in Temecula naturally produce a higher amount of sugar than other appellations, so dry wines tend to have higher alcohol content than their northern cousins (around 14-15% in Temecula compared to 11-13% in Napa Valley or the Central Coast). The 2014 Petite Sirah, though, sets the bar at 16.6% ABV!
In the end, this is a big, robust wine not for the faint of heart. If you like strong Napa Cabernets, or if you can handle a kick-in-the-mouth Nebbiolo, you’ll have a great time with Monte de Oro’s 2014 Petite Sirah.
When & How I Would Drink It
This wine will take you on a flavor journey, so drink when you are able to take the time to truly enjoy it. I suggest pouring yourself a glass after a busy day, alongside someone you care about. Concentrating on the scents and tastes as they transition will sideline other thoughts, and it doesn’t take much of this wine to create a slight buzz.
Serving this wine with dinner, consider the Petite Sirah another course served alongside your entrée. It will pair well with dark red meats and savory stews.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $38.00 ($30.40 if you join Monte de Oro’s wine club)
Cases Produced: 450