2010 PETITE PETIT by Michael David Vineyards

“Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.” ……. Medieval German saying

From Lodi (see map) California, comes “Petite-Petit” red wine; a blend of 85% Petite Sirah (not to be confused with Syrah/Shiraz) and 15% Petite Verdot.  Lodi is an AVA (American Viticultural Area) akin to the Italian DOG/DOGC or French AOC, and is located within the larger Central Valley region.  Although Lodi is about seventy miles east of the coast (San Francisco Bay), its rivers provide it with a more Mediterranean climate than might be expected.

Petite Sirah (aka Durif) is a black skinned grape and this comes through in the glass by the wine showing as dark purple.  Petite Verdot is often used in blending the magnificent wines of Bordeaux, though in a smaller percentage. It is unfruity, offers earthy tastes and is also dark in color. Each of these varietals is available as a stand-alone and are (for me) excellent “winter wines” offering a chewy full bodyness that goes well with the heavier dishes of cold weather.

Looking at Petite Petit in the glass, one anticipates a bold, teeth staining dry wine. But the nose instead reminded me of chocolate covered blueberries, with emphasis on the blueberry. The taste is fruit-rich with jammy plum and blueberry, a hint of sweetness from the fruit.  I would prefer more acidity for a crisp finish, but know that many people will  enjoy the fruit and softness of the wine, particularly newer wine drinkers.  Aerate the wine in your mouth while making a sucking sound (OK, do this alone) and the blueberry pops. Michael David winery ages the wine for 16 months in French Oak which smoothes the edges of Sirah and you should expect to taste some vanilla because of this, though I didn’t find it out of balance. “Petite Petit” (for me) had a short finish that fell off quickly with a slight taste of black pepper spice; a contribution I suspect from the Petite Verdot, and a very slight hint of earth. 

This is not a complex wine that has layers of flavor, or has tastes that develop and progress and change significantly in the mouth.  But given that it is commonly available and at under $17, is easy drinking and “backyard food friendly,” it offers good value.  It’s often described as a wine that goes well with pizza, but I see it as a better accompaniment to baby back ribs thickly sauced.

I poured this wine at an event.  People liked it, told others, and they appeared asking for “the elephant wine.”  From my experience, its best advertisers were people who had already tasted and liked the wine. Michael David also makes (I was asked) “7 Deadly Zins” (a Zinfandel blend with Petite Sirah) as well as “Gluttony,” “Sloth” and “Rage,” and other wines with names and labels that apparently capture peoples’ attention.  I’ve always been more motivated by what is inside the bottle. But judging from the reaction of people at the tasting, Michael David seems to have a thorough understanding of the American market

…………………  Jim

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Tech Specs for Petite Petit
Ph:                          3.54
Alc:                         14.5%
TA (total acidity):  0.59

Robert Parker       87 Points, Oct 2012

Michael David Winery
4580 West Highway 12
Lodi CA 95242
Tel: 209-368-5801

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