Here’s a grape that I quite adore for its huge body and rich taste: petite sirah (aka “Durif” outside California and Israel). This is a wine from a black-skinned grape variety, a variety known for its body and which is often used to embolden blends made from weaker grapes. If you don’t like red wine — well, you’ll hate this. If you don’t like big bold reds … you’ll probably leave your glass half-full. But if you like a wine that will grab you by the ears and hold your attention of a beautiful bowl of cherry, you’ll have found your match.
This is a bold, fruit forward Californian that launches in your mouth with big ripe blackberries. While some might say it is full with blueberries, I’d counter the taste for me is truly Saskatoon berries because of the dry, tannic finish … it is a distinct taste which I quite frankly can’t describe with any other words than Saskatoon berries. (Try to explain the taste of a Saskatoon to someone who hasn’t tasted one.) In the middle, there is some milk chocolate and cinnamon and a peppery ending rich with alcohol which makes it a great accompaniment to most rich, red meats like beef or lamb … or duck!
I can’t say I’m ever “pressed” to find something to pair with duck. So, when I decided to make Ben his birthday dinner this weekend and marry it with a sour-cherry sauce, I knew immediately that this new bottle of wine was going to pair well.
Indeed, the tannins along with the richness and fruit of the wine made it an amazing companion to duck magret, a duck that is otherwise raised for the richness of its liver (i.e. foie gras) and which I served with semi-sweet sour-cherry sauce. Oooh-la-la … now those are birds of a feather meant to go together!
Drink it now or cellar it for a few more years. It pairs well with food right out of the bottle … but for a big-red sipper, I suggest you let it breathe for a bit for an hour or so.
- Price: $18.95
- Alcohol: 14.5%
- Sweetness: Very dry
- Appellation/origin: Lodi (California)
- Where to buy: Special order
- Food Pairing: Duck (e.g. Duck Magret with Sour-Cherry and Port Sauce …)