Petite Sirah is a great varietal that doesn’t get anywhere near enough acclaim. There are a few good ones in California, but let’s head to Australia and sample the 2016 Caravan ($18), which is a generous, lushly mouth-filling wine – one that’s earned a lot of gold medals.
The aroma is redolent of blackberries and other dark fruits, while the palate gets treated to a banquet of plum, boysenberry and black raspberry flavours, nicely lifted with touches of oak, licorice and spice.
Mill Bay’s Unsworth Vineyards is fairly new on the scene but already has an impressive roster of wines for sale. I recently tucked into their 2017 Rosé and it was a joy from first sip to last. A beautiful salmon colour and very much in the dry Provençal style, there is a subtle succulence of strawberry and rhubarb on the palate, and a long finish. It’s well worth the $25. Available at the winery – try their restaurant! – and from private shops like Cascadia and Everything Wine.
Wente, one of the most venerable of the family-owned vineyards in California, can add class to any dinner party with their delicious “Morning Fog” Chardonnay (referring to the fog rolling into their vineyard from San Francisco Bay). Crafted half in oak barrel and half in stainless steel, this poised and supple wine is generously flavoured with notes of green apple, peach and a lick of spice. Add in the fresh acidity and round mouth feel, and this Chardonnay is a bargain at $23.
And it’s back to Australia for the 2014 Johnny Q Shiraz Viognier ($17.25) (the 5% Viognier adds sparkle and lifts the flavours). There’s lots going on here, with a lively blend of raspberry, dark fruits, spice and chocolate that dances along to a protracted, succulent finish. Sourced from the Barossa Valley, Australia’s world-famous Shiraz region, it garnered 91 points from Aussie wine scribe James Halliday, and rates as a best buy – better grab a couple!
(All prices include tax)