Dustin Pfaff’s 2015 Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah demonstrates how downright dazzling head-pruned, dry-farmed Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley can be, especially when grown by Paul Bernier. Emanating from one of the very finest Petite Sirah vineyards in Sonoma County and superbly crafted by Dustin Pfaff at Talty, this exquisite blend of 90% Petite Sirah and 10% Zinfandel is knock out gorgeous. Only the third release of this wine from a vineyard planted in the 1970s, the 2015 D. Pfaff Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah combines super rich flavor with smooth, ripe tannins. Intense blackberry and blueberry fruit, hints of vanilla from ageing in American oak, and a wealth of enticing earth and spice tones greet the nose and palate in this bold, beautiful red. To say this is no ordinary Petite Sirah would be an understatement. Dustin Pfaff’s 2015 Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah ranks among the finest California can produce. Not only is it delicious and eminently drinkable now, it is capable of ageing gracefully for up to 10 years or more. Kudos to Dustin Pfaff and Michael Talty for combining two of California’s crowd pleasing varietals into one delicious wine. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest affording Dustin Pfaff’s pure, racy 2015 Petite Sirah at least 15-20 minutes of aeration before enjoying it at cool room temperature (60°-64° F).
D. Pfaff‘s 2015 Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah is a wonderful wine to pair with flavorful foods. Smoked meats, slow cooked Texas style beef brisket, and marinated duck breast all make splendid companions to this wine. Other favorite accompaniments include homemade lasagna with beef, sausage and cheese; braised lamb shanks with white beans; and pasta with black olives and carrots. Grilled Italian sausages with peppers and onions; slow cooked barbecued spare ribs; pot roast; and pasta fresca made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, vine ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs also get our nod. Brick oven cooked pizzas and calzones as well as hearty chicken dishes with Mediterranean herbs and spices complement this wine, too. Traditional risottos with cheese, mushrooms, or truffles provide more tasty companionship to D. Pfaff’s masterful 2015 Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah. Petite Sirah is also a cheese lover’s dream, so why not pair Cheddar, Edam, Chèvre, Pecorino or your favorite cheese with this wine. Enjoy!
The 2015 D. Pfaff Bernier Vineyard Petite Sirah is made by Dustin Pfaff at Talty Winery in Dry Creek, the home of outstanding handcrafted, vineyard designated Zinfandels. Talty Vineyards and Winery are owned by Dustin’s uncle Michael Talty. While the winemaking rests in the hands of Dustin Pfaff and the folks at Talty, the grapes for the D. Pfaff Petite Sirah hail from a head-pruned, dry-farmed vineyard in Dry Creek Valley owned by the Bernier family. The Berniers know how to grow luscious Petite Sirah and Pfaff and Talty have a magic touch with Petite Sirah as well as Zinfandel and a knack for fashioning distinctive bold red wines that reflect each vineyard’s unique terroir.
Talty Vineyards and Winery fashions half a dozen wines each year for a total of only 1,300 cases. Each wine bears a single vineyard designation and is cropped at 2 tons per acre, which guarantees rich fruit flavors and plenty of structure to each of the wines.
Petite Sirah is a grape that is also known as Durif, named for Francois Durif, the French botanist who first identified the grape in the late 19th century in the south of France. Petite Sirah is thought to be the result of a natural chance cross pollination between Syrah and the French grape Peloursin. Durif or Petite Sirah (the names are often used interchangeably) is rarely cultivated today in its native France. However, this adaptable grape has gained considerable favor elsewhere, with California its main proponent. It is increasingly popular in Australia and Israel, too, as the grape is well-suited to a dry, Mediterranean climate.
Although called Petite Sirah, there is nothing petite about it, except the size of its berries. Petite Sirah produces rich, powerful, and often tannic wines that are typically at their best within the first 5 or 6 years of life, but the finest versions can, however, benefit from extensive bottle aging and live for up to two decades or more.
Petite Sirah has a long history in California where it has flourished since the 1870s. A favorite of Sonoma County’s Italian immigrant population for its deep color and tannic structure, Petite Sirah quickly found a place among California’s “field blends,” wines that were enamored by California’s immigrants and the state’s burgeoning population. At the turn of the 20th century, Petite Sirah was reputed to be among the three leading grape varieties planted in California. Zinfandel and Mourvèdre were the other players in that triumvirate. Although not nearly so widely cultivated today, Petite Sirah is enjoying resurgence, both as a key component in many of California’s finest Zinfandels and, once again, popular field blends, but also as a single varietal. Rich dark fruit, plenty of robust flavor, and ample tannins make Petite Sirah once again highly sought after.
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