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…
—- Round Two —-
The Vinedos was the prettier wine, no doubts there. It had a bit more lift, as well – it’s just a really well-made, drinkable wine, certainly one of the food-friendliest of the entire field of sixteen. Going down to the buzzer, though, the 7 Artisans pulled it out with its extra depth, power and – more importantly, I thought – long-term potential.
Two similar wines in a lot of ways, and another close battle. Pound for pound, these were probably the meatiest (literally, as in smoked meat and game notes) wines of the elite eight lineup. In the end… the Stanton’s additional complexity and balance give it enough to edge out its rival from Paso.
Winner: 2007 Stanton Vineyards because it’s kind of like drinking bacon, but in the most awesome way possible.
The silky, sexy, leather-&-spice of Draconis? Or the floral, big-bold tension of the Frank? The Draconis played way over its price-point in this one; it’s a hell of a wine, and one that I personally loved to drink up later after the tourney was over, and it put up an inspired fight against a wine that out-prices it by more than a factor of two. But the Frank was just a hair better on the day.
Winner: 2009 Frank Family Vineyards, though I have a feeling that on another day, the Draconis could have been drinking well enough to beat it, and it’s a wine I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to PS lovers.
This was… a blowout. Sorry, but there was no just real contest here, and the Biale lived up to its name by delivering punishing blow after punishing blow of grip, complexity, mouthfeel, you-name-it to the thoroughly outmatched Huntington, which just had too simple of a game plan.
2006 Robert Biale “Royal Punishers” coasts to victory, without really breaking a sweat.
What’s with this upstart Seven Artisans? It plays so much bigger, bolder and complex than the $18 for which it asks from your bank account. But not all Cinderella stories have happy endings in the world of competition, and when faced with the power and silkiness of the Stanton, Seven Artisans’ storybook run finally met its closing chapter.
Winner: 2007 Stanton Vineyards – in this bout, it’s a bit of the evil dream-killer, but its place in the tourney is completely merited; this is a large wine, but a complete one, and it’s large without losing the soul of what Petite Sirah is all about.
No matter what, the finals were now going to come down to a battle of Napa Valley heavyweights. This will seem inevitable to some, disappointing to others, but the results are the results. Was Biale punishing enough? In this finals round, not quite – the two heavyweights battle one another with aplomb, grace and power, but the prettiness of the Frank’s florals carry it through to victory.
Winner: 2009 Frank Family Vineyards – battered, bloodied, but unbowed!
Feel proud, Napa Valley! Like the highly-seated Midwestern teams that graced the NCAA finals this year, the favorites (based on pedigree and price-point, anyway) are both your homeboys and are both headed to the finals! Click here for the updated bracket.