Thursday, May 20, 2010

2005 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah

Applewood-smoked pork shoulder was on the menu tonight along with all the traditional BBQ trimmings: baked beans, cole slaw, corn-on-the-cob, etc. I figured I needed a big, American wine to go with this so I reached for the 2005 Eaglepoint Ranch Winery Petite Sirah, Mendocino County. The color is, quite simply, the darkest possible color one can extract from a grape. Completely opaque with a saturated purple rim. The nose is a complex witch's brew of charred/roasted meat, blackberry, dry cocoa powder and black pepper. The palate is bone dry and rustic with more blackberry, spice and cocoa powder. Stark tannins will probably preserve this wine for at least a decade. The 14.7% alcohol is never obtrusive. Rumor has it this wine is aged in American oak, but I get no hint of that coconut/dill/Bourbon aroma that I find such a turn-off.

I tired two different BBQ sauces with the meat and wine and got drastically different results. First up was my homemade, apple cider-based, North Carolina-style sauce. It's thin, very spicy and acidic and I really enjoy it on pulled pork. But to be honest, it's a trainwreck with this wine. The acid in the sauce really doesn't work at all with the wine's flavor profile. The other sauce, K.C. Masterpiece "original," was a home run. It was sweet, goopy and everything I usually detest in a BBQ sauce. But it really brought out the fruit and spice in the wine.

Casey Hartlip, owner of Eaglepoint Ranch no longer makes wine from his grapes. His operation now is purely one of a vineyard; selling his grapes to renown wineries such as Rosenblum, Sean Thackery, Hidden Cellars, Copain and Navarro. If you're lucky you might still be able to track down some of this Petite Sirah or perhaps some of his Syrah or Grenache.

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