Four Vines Petite Sirah “The Skeptic” Paso Robles 2011

four vinesI’ve always enjoyed Four Vines because their wines have personality which their marketing emphasizes with names such as Truant, Biker, and Maverick.  Apparently, their new owners, The Purple Wine Company, will continue their “rebel” schtick.

But there is always the issue of whether their marketing gets the personality right.

This Petite Sirah is called the “Skeptic” and the back of the bottle proclaims “A wine as inscrutable as midnight…Provocative…caramel on the nose…Profound…intense boysenberry. Keep asking, questioning and drinking deep and dark.”

I call a foul. Petite Sirah is dark in color with dark fruit flavors but there is nothing inscrutable or profound about this wine.

It is flamboyant and ostentatious, with way too much “come on” to be the “mysterious” guy in the corner and has none of the reserve of a skeptic. This wine wants to make friends.

Abundant aromas of blueberry pie leap from the glass with nicely rendered cardamom and vanilla notes topped off with pencil shavings. Savory, opulent, and round on the palate, with firm acidity, even a bit tart. The short but focused finish tastes like a shot of espresso but tannins are polished to a smooth shine and are barely perceptible. Petite Sirah is a very tannic grape with a rough texture typically used to add structure and color to a blend; the Four Vines is an unusual expression of it but one that is becoming more common as this grape gains popularity and winemakers strive to tame the rough edges to make it drinkable for people with weak constitutions.

Really quite enjoyable if you ignore the back label—in fact it’s generally a good idea to ignore the back label.

Score: 91

Ave. Price: $20

Alc: 14.3%

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