Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Big, Bold Strayla Day

I almost missed it but, luckily, I saw a reference online to the fact that it was Australia Day. It only made sense that we pull out a big, old Aussie red to go with something we could throw on the barbee.

1850.  2005 Pirramimma Petit Verdot (McLaren Vale)

Pirramimma is one of those Aussie wineries that I've known of for years; yet, I know very little about them. For a smaller, family-owned operation, Pirramimma offers a healthy number of wines - particularly since their total output is limited to approximately 40,000 cases. I recall that I was introduced to the winery and their Petit Verdot at a tasting some years back and I've remembered them ever since. I've added some Pirramimma wines to The List previously, but it appears that this is the first Petit Verdot - despite it being the grape variety I remember them for best.

The winery website says that the winery researched the grape variety in their vineyard for eleven years before they released their first varietal wine in 1994. "The Pirramimma Petit Verdot vineyard was the first and is now the largest in Australia." Indeed, some of the comments they show on the site state that "Pirramimma has long been a benchmark for varietal Verdot" and ask "Is there any better Petit Verdot in the world?"

Petit Verdot is an authorized Bordeaux grape; however, it is a late ripener and, as such, doesn't play that large of a role in most Bordeaux wines. That may change a bit with climate change but, for the time being, you might find that Petit Verdot, made into a varietal wine, is more likely to have originated from a warmer climate - like Australia or California.

The grape is known for powerful presence, deep colour and rich tannins - whether found as a varietal wine or as a component in a blend. When fully ripened, P.V. wines will be full-bodied and full of dark fruit. This wine certainly exhibited the powerful notes. It drank nicely with the steak but I didn't find this vintage to be particularly fruit-driven. It became a bit overpowering when being sipped on its own. I wonder how much bolder the wine would have been without the decade of ageing.

All considered, I'm a firm believer in "different is good" and, as such, I'll continue to look forward to a return visit to Pirramimma and to its "benchmark" Petit Verdot.

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