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A Champion Is Crowned: The 2012 1WD Petite Sirah Taste-Off Finals

Vinted on April 12, 2012 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

In a thrilling, tightly-fought contest, the 2009 Frank Family Vineyards SJ Vineyard Reserve Petite Sirah was crowned Champion of the 2012 1WineDude.com Petite Sirah Taste-Off tournament, edging out its Napa neighbor rival in the finals, the 2007 Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah.

The contest was widely dubbed “The Slapper Down In Napa” by the press, since both finalists hailed from California’s Napa Valley winemaking region.

“Wow… just… wow!” Frank Family’s violet aromas told reporters when asked about its game MVP award-winning performance during the bought. “You know, we were favored, but a lot of people maybe thought that we were too big, that the tannins and alcohol would hog the ball… but we played like a team today!” the MVP remarked as it choked back tears of joy.

Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah had been a meaty, deep and demanding wine throughout the tournament, widely agreed that it lived up to its $40 SRP ranking, and garnering a reputation as the “George Foreman” of the field of sixteen: stocky, focused and powerful.

But it wasn’t enough against the highly-ranked, slightly-favored Frank Family Vineyards PS. Punishing and also powerful – and, at times, criticized as being too flamboyant for its own good – the 2009 Frank Family displayed depth and poise and prettiness in the final round, to augment its power-forward tannin-and-grip game. Like Ali or Michael Jordan, it was just fun to watch it do its thing – and see it win it all.

Both wines insisted that that they’d be going right back to work on the current vintage.

“Win or now win, vines gotta be pruned, and eventually grapes gotta get picked – and crushed,” Frank Family Vineyards PS told reporters at the close of their post-championship press conference.

No stops in Disneyland for these two stalwarts; only a momentary pause to contemplate and appreciate a fleeting moment (or two) of glory…

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The 2012 1WD CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off, Part Deux

Vinted on April 11, 2012 binned in wine review

Today continues the focus this week on The 2012 1WineDude.com CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off, reporting on the results of the second and third rounds of the single-elimination, sixteen-bottle tourney. Click here for background on the bizarre genesis of this thing, and the results of the first round (if you missed it, please read it, because the rest of this isn’t gonna make a whole lot of sense until you do).

I’m not going to lie, after round one I was starting to regret picking Petite Sirah as the variety of choice for this tasting experiment. Mostly because I looked like something from The Black Lagoon, with purple hands, purple fingernails, purple lips, purple tongue, purple teeth.

On second thought, make that The Purple Lagoon… Anyway…

If we take price-point as a rough equivalent of potential “ranking”  (in terms of being a hint of a wine’s complexity and overall quality, which we all know it isn’t but ought to be, in Perfect World) then the first round of our tourney provided no real upsets, though did produce some close battles that wouldn’t have been suggested by the differences in SRPs between the contenders.

I found that surprising, because I was convinced there would be an upset at some point. And the second round of bouts, thankfully, didn’t let me down. Following are the results of Rounds Two and Three…

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The 2012 1WineDude.com CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off!

Vinted on April 10, 2012 binned in best of, wine review

This is a tourney several years in the making.

I first had the idea of having a “Taste-Off” – a March Madness tournament-style tasting of sixteen wines, randomly matched against one another, and proceeding in a single-elimination tasting against one another over the same day until one is crowned “champion”– back in 2008.

It’s taken me this long to get around to it, inspired in part by the facts that a) we’ve had an exciting NCAA tourney this year, b) simply having a free day in which to do it, and c) having the personal realization that I had sixteen different California Petite Sirah samples (none of the poor things knowing what was in store for them) sitting in the bowels of my cellar and therefore could actually pull it off. Also, I had a pretty sh*tty week and just needed a fun escape.

Why Petite Sirah? It just felt right. It’s a divisive wine, usually eliciting either intense devotion or complete hatred hatred – and as a result, it’s a variety that tends to get less press coverage than a Xylophonist convention.

How it went down: Sixteen different CA Petite Sirah wines were randomly assigned numbers, which were then randomly matched into a field of sixteen, single-elimination tourney bracket-style. The winner of each bracket went on to face the winner of the next, with the losers being eliminated. This means that a) it’s possible for mismatches, just like in a real tournament – and there certainly were some of those! – and b) some really good wines didn’t get to compete against one another. A wine advanced if, at the moments I tasted it, it seemed a better, more complete, well-crafted, more complex wine; and yes, that means that a wine not tasting well on the given day was at a disadvantage – no different than any other wine competition (or competition of any kind, for that matter!).

That’s the nature of single-elimination tourneys, people: it’s not entirely fair; too friggin’ bad; deal with it and let’s have some fun!

Over the course of this week, I’m going to feature the results of the tourney, revealing the “champion” on Thursday and highlighting the two finalists. Mini-reviews will post this coming Monday and will include any wine in the lineup not already reviewed in the minis. So if you’re not into PS, this is not  the week for you to be checking out 1WD. If you’re curious or already a PS lover, then read on!…

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