summer season coming to a close and the hint of a chill
in the air, red wine again appeals to the senses.
But this time of year, when barbecue is still a weekly
possibility, a simple, supple, spicy wine is always the
way to go. Petite sirah meets the criteria and appeals
to an array of tastes.
This juicy, plummy, cheerful grape is grown primarily
in California and has a distinctly American appeal --
it's big and peppery but without any really sharp edges.
It can be an ideal steppingstone for newer red wine drinkers
interested in making the leap from pinot noir.
Dancing Coyote 2003 Petite Sirah ($16.99) from the Clarksburg
growing area near Sacramento has a heady aroma of blooming
roses and fig with a palate of deep cherry and plum,
pepper and anise spice. The finish is long and rewarding.
Dancing Coyote is a small-production winery run by a family
of experienced growers (mega wine producers, such as Kenwood
and Bonny Doon, buy their fruit), and an appreciation for
quality grapes is apparent in this fruit-forward petite
sirah. Pair it with sticky ribs or chicken enchiladas with
a sweet and spicy mole sauce.