Winery/Vineyard: Bella Vista Winery
Product/Varietal: 100% Petite Sirah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Gonzalo Villanueva
How They Describe It
You will find the nose smoky, sweet and hint of vanilla. Flavors of black and sour cherry will dance on your palate before giving you a fine smooth finish. Pairs well with fine cheeses.
How I Describe It
The Bella Vista 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve is a deep, inky magenta. Tartrate crystals (also known as “wine diamonds“) can be seen along the rim of the bottle, on the bottom of the cork, and a few might make their way into your glass. Other than the aesthetic, this is not a fault. In fact, it’s indicative of the wine’s quality, and that it required less processing before being bottled.
An effluvium of ripe, juicy blackberry joins black currant, blueberry, and black cherry. Subtle campfire smoke fuses with eucalyptus, spearmint, and lavender. Hints of sage and licorice root round the aromas out.
On the palate, the Bella Vista 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve begins with a blast of blueberry, black cherry and black currant, which are amplified by gripping tannins. This mixture creates a pleasingly unique sensation that the the ripe, rich fruit has embraced your tongue and will never let go. Underneath the fruit are baking spices, black pepper, cedar, dark chocolate, and light cigar tobacco. The wine’s herbal characteristics are fainter than on the nose, but the eucalyptus, spearmint, lavender, and licorice root are definitely still there.
The 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve is a dry wine with noticeably high tannins. Alcohol is medium at 13.6%, while acid is high. All combined, this wine has a beautiful body on the fuller side of medium-plus, with pronounced flavors and a long finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
Let’s start by establishing the obvious: Petite Sirah is a big wine. These grapes naturally produce bold, dark fruit flavors, a fair amount of spice, and a heaping mouthful of tannins. This varietal also naturally creates high alcohol wines — many over 15% ABV.
It’s no surprise, then, that magnifying desirable flavors and building body for most Temecula Valley AVA Petite Sirahs lean heavily on alcohol content (as is the case with Bella Vista’s high-scoring 2016 Sangiovese). As a result, these high-ABV wines’ full mouthfeels are based primarily in the viscosity the alcohol imparts.
By contrast, the Bella Vista 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve has an alcohol content more similar to a Right Bank Bordeaux or Northern Rhône red. To build its robust body and flavors, this wine uses tannins as its base. This preserves a certain delicateness in the wine, despite its boldness. It’s absolutely beautiful to drink.
Also of note, while many Temecula red wines begin to show signs of aging after four years in barrel and bottle, the 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve is remarkably well-preserved. Frankly, it is still a young wine, and I can see it scoring even higher as it reaches peak maturity.
In full disclosure, Bella Vista Winery donated the bottle described here. Other than providing the wine itself, there was no exchange of anything which would have influenced or unfairly biased this review.
When & How I Would Drink It
The way the dark fruit and tannins play off of each other in this wine is really interesting. If you love tannins, you’ll love this wine.
Tannins pair well with fat and meat proteins, so fire up the grill or prepare a nice greasy sauce. Personally, I’d find immense enjoyment drinking the 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve with a bison burger. Though, frankly, you could get practically the same effect with an In-n-Out Double Double®.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $36.95
Cases Produced: 194 cases
Have you tried the Bella Vista 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.