Paso Robles Petite Sirah

California has long been considered one of the New World’s greatest wine producing regions. The cooling oceanic breezes roll in from the coast, tempering the golden sunshine which allows grapes of many varietals to reach a stunning level of ripeness and expression. In the middle of California’s central coast, we find the sub-region of Paso Robles, sitting halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This area is typified by rolling hillsides, oak forests and dramatic canyons, and has for over two centuries been home to a buzzing and busy wine scene.

Today, over 26,000 acres of land in Paso Robles is dedicated to viticulture. It is a land of great variety - the fertile soils and ideal climatic conditions allow an astonishing forty different grape varietals to grow, meaning that this region of California is one of the most diverse in the world in regards to vine species, making it a fascinating region to explore. The principal grape varietal of this area is Zinfandel, closely followed by Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Rhone Valley varietals such as Viognier are also well represented, and regularly praised for their expressiveness and aromatic qualities. The region benefits from a long and steady growing region throughout the hot summer, with cool nights and sea winds producing beautifully balanced wines, produced by wineries willing to combine traditional techniques with modern experimentation and equipment.

Petite Sirah was first brought from France to America in the 1880s. It later went on to become one of the only grapes to make it through the devastating Phylloxera virus in the 1890s, both World Wars, and the Great Depression. During Prohibition, it was a main ingredient used to make sacramental wines. In fact, through the 1960s it was a major blending grape in a number of the finest wines produced in California.

By itself, a bottle of Petite Sirah usually has no problem making a quick impression on consumers. With a large amount of natural color and tannins, wines made with the grape commonly feature intensive sweet fruit characteristics like fresh raspberry or blackberry jam, black pepper spice, and plenty of backbone or structure.

There are a number of different styles available. Some concentrate on highlighting fresh, fruity flavors; others are bigger, more voluptuous; and it keeps going up the ladder until you reach the powerful, more machismo-style category.