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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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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I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to the upcoming Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah event in Alameda, CA on February 18th – and they might just have YOUR name on ‘em!
The Dark & Delicious event is organized by P.S. I Love You, which is probably the world’s most passionate collection of fans and promoters of the powerful wines made from the Petite Sirah grape (interestingly, we can go back in the annals to the very beginnings of 1WineDude.com and find me professing myself as one of the lovers of PS). Here’s how Jo Diaz of www.wine-blog.org and the uber-promoter of all thing P.S. I Love You describes the event:
“There are 48 wineries pouring their Petite Sirahs, with nearly 30 foodies, creating foods to go with Petite Sirah. This is a medium-sized event (about 800 people attend), and most of the winery owners and winemakers are the ones pouring their wines.
February 18, 2001, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Three hours of wining and dining, free parking, all for $63.00 per ticket, at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda… Overlooking the San Francisco Bay skyline. The only restriction is that attendees must be 21 years or older to attend.
The foods being offered are well beyond bread, crackers, and/or cheese… People enjoy delightful meals, which also finishes with eclectic chocolate companies. The quote from Tom Merle says it best, because he’s been to every event in the SF Bay area… ‘You offer far more real gourmet treats than any other of the marketing association tastings.’”
You know the drill – the giveaway covers the event tix only (sorry, no travel or any other expenses), and to enter you need only comment on this post with a Petite Sirah recommendation for your fellow 1WineDude.com readers. On Friday, January 28 at 6PM ET I will randomly select one commenter from this post as the winner (who will be notified via e-mail).
Cheers – and good luck!