Complex, restrained, subtle? -- we think not.
One man told me it has a "bite." Hmm. I think not, unless we mean the bite of alcohol (15.2%).
A harvest date one month later than usual, plus fifteen months' aging in oak barrels (30% of them new, in other words freshly oakier than old barrels), will go far toward explaining this petite sirah's sweetness, high alcohol, and general rich luscious jamminess. You can view the technical specifics, from winemaker MiroTcholakov, at Trentadue Winery's website.
Retail, about $25.
Bottle shot, from Trentadue Winery.
It amazes me to learn how quickly people move around in the California wine industry. I'm accustomed to a more ordinary life, where things go on forever and ever. Remember when we learned by sheer luck that Richard Bruno had left Sebastiani and was now working for Vinum Cellars? Remember, also, how many of the winemakers taking part in last fall's Wines of Chile live blogger tasting had served a half dozen apprenticeships all over the world before settling, no doubt temporarily, in Chile? Perhaps, among these elite of the elite, two years is a lifetime and four an aeon. If Miro Tcholakov is still helping produce Trentadue's La Storia series, he hides it well. These days, he makes wine for his own Miro Cellars, where he specializes in big, "plush" reds -- award winning zinfandels, cabernets, pinot noirs, and petite sirahs. The very first word on his website's home page, descriptive of his wines, is "unrestrained."
There. I knew it.
It's only right to point out that he specializes, also, in relatively affordable wines. Our La Storia is excellent and fairly priced at about $22 to $25. I am sure we can say the same of anything from Miro Cellars, whose pricing runs between $25 and $30. As snooty as it may sound, it is only too bad that most liquor- or grocery-store shoppers will never venture that high -- remember the article about the coming glut of foreclosures in Napa? -- unless and until experience teaches them that it's just the $25 price point which is the magic threshold giving on to real and startling quality.
Incidentally, "which wine are you?" Marketing rears its cute little head. Go to this page of Miro Cellars and you may take a 5-question quiz which well tell you what (red) wine exemplifies your personality. As luck would have it, I am a petite sirah.
P.S. Once again "focusing on me," as Jack used to demand in Will and Grace, -- do you like the photo? I don't fuss much with my pictures, hoping that if they aren't professional they are at least colorful and interesting, and perhaps display the charm of rustic immediacy. If you do hanker for the intense clear backlight, the folded cloth napkins and the carefully casual, spilled-crumb composition of great foodstyling, there are many food blogs loaded with resplendently beautiful photographs for you to enjoy. I encourage you to try BitterSweet, founded five years ago by an eighteen-year-old now made good, or Aapplemint, What's For Lunch Honey, or Lobstersquad (this last is filled with drawings, not photos, but they are charming). Visiting Delish.com will further open your world.
Meanwhile, it's a lazy Sunday morning, above; my tablecloth is rustic indeed; I forgot to move the wrapper of butter out of the camera's field; the blue is the kitchen chair that I spray-painted some years ago; and the hint of bright yellow in the background is the dishwashing gloves hanging over the edge of the sink. Retail, about $2.49.
Image from the New York Post