Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2008 J.R. Storey Petite Sirah Port

I didn't grow up a fan of cranberry relish as a kid since my mom's idea of cranberries at Thanksgiving involved opening a can and scooping it into a bowl. Sometimes she didn't even bother disguising the corrugation from the tin can. Then about 15 years ago my wife ran across a simple recipe for fresh cranberry relish incorporating port wine and orange zest. Now we make an improvised version of this every Thanksgiving.

I love port. All kinds of port. I love the "real" stuff from Oporto as well as late-harvest dessert style reds from California, Australia and virtually everywhere else. But my wife doesn't care for it and I don't have very many friends who do, either. So I rarely drink the stuff. Sad, because I'm sitting on about 2 cases of vintage ports from the legendary 1994 and pretty damn good 1997 vintages in the cellar. Good thing they have a near indefinite shelf life. But I digress.

After sacrificing a cup to the cranberries, the rest of the bottle of 2008 J.R. Storey Siebe Vineyard Petite Sirah Dessert Wine, Solano County was all mine. As expected, the color is a deep purplish hue that stains the glass as it slowly drips down the bowl. Fabulous notes of crushed raspberry, Grenadine and red licorice explode from the glass. On the palate, the spicy, black pepper notes so common to Petite Sirah come out as well as a chalky, mouth-filling texture. Finishes with just a hint of green. Goes down way too smoothly for something with 18% alcohol!

This is a very well-made domestic port-style wine that retails for approximately $30 for a really cute, squatty 500ml bottle. This wine was a sample from J.R. Storey Winery which, if you've been following this blog, you will know we are considering distributing in Kansas through Amphora Distribution. As I said, I really like this wine. I think it would be great with a whole range of chocolate desserts as well as blue cheese. But in my experience, ports and dessert wines in general are a tough sell in this market. Time will tell if we commit to half a palate or so of this.

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