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burgessPetite Sirah is a cross of Syrah and an obscure grape called Peloursin developed in France in the mid-19th Century where it is called Durif. (It picked up the “petite” moniker because of the small berry size.) It’s now seldom found in France but Americans are finding it palatable when properly tamed. This one from Burgess, made from estate grapes about 1000 feet up Howell Mountain, is a beautiful expression of this sometimes difficult grape.

Aromas of rich, dense  blueberry pie with an enticingly subtle mushroom halo and hints of smoke give this a distinctive nose, more interesting than most Petite Sirah. Medium toast oak has presence adding that bit of smoke but it doesn’t come close to overwhelming the fruit.

Very juicy up front melding blackberry and dark cherry with dark roast coffee, the midpalate is muscular but pleasing ushering in an oak inflected finish with powerful but refined, well managed tannins, and embued with a steak of vibrant acidity that provides lift and intimates elegance, at least as much as Petite Sirah can muster.

A fine amalgam of strength and polish.

Score: 92

Price: $38

Alc: 14.1%

Benatar’s Promises in the Dark brings out the prettiness of this wine exposing floral and black olive notes and smoothing the finish.

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