2006 Reserve Petite Sirah
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Reserve Judgement
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure a limited allocation of the Reserve Petite Sirah from our friends at Bourassa Vineyards.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bourassa Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Reserve Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Gary Galleron
Petite Sirah’s California roots dates back to when it was believed to be a close relative of the Syrah grape. Later it would be found to be genetically identical to the Durif, named for its after French discoverer François Durif who found that the varietal was a Syrah grape pollinated with Peloursin flowers. Its smaller berries with higher skin to pulp ratio leads to more intense flavors. Another benefit of the smaller berries are tighter clusters that are more resistant to mildew. Currently Petite Sirah is less popular in France and increasingly popular in the United States.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep dark, almost black, purple with a dark inky core. The deep dark purple color extends all the way to the edge of the class and when swirled clusters of slow thin legs highlight the slightly viscous texture of the wine.
Smell – Bold ripe fruit leads off the complex nose of this wine. Immediately underneath the black-fruit and plum are notes of herbaceous fennel and rosemary, hints of black olive and spicy black pepper. Toasted oak and aromas of pencil shavings complete the preview.
Feel – This full-bodied wine is initially warm and smooth then the tangy fruit kicks in at mid-palate. Excellent and characteristically bright acidity and nice minerality complemented by firm, but fine tannins.
Taste – Ripe bold blackberry and juicy plum layered over complex notes of spicy black pepper, herbal wild fennel and vegital notes and a touch of oak and cedar. The slightest touch of bittersweet chocolate also emerges as you explore this fun wine.
Finish – Super long, warm and clean with lingering flavors of its bold ripe fruit and spice.
Conclusion – The 2006 Bourassa Vineyards Reserve Petite Sirah is an excellent wine that shows a lot of finesse for a grape that often times is considered ‘course’ in nature. Bold fruit, spice, herbal notes and a structure that stands up makes this wine perfect for your boldest kitchen creations.
Below we revisit Agent White’s initial encounter with Napa Valley’s Bourassa Vineayrds.
For those ‘insider’ operatives that know me, you know I also have a soft spot for Highland Scotch and authentic Jalisco Tequila. While on a mission where I was technically ‘off the reservation’ in search of tequila, an interesting incident occurred.
I had flown in to Mexico via small aircraft (our very own Wine Spies Spy Plane, a kitted Cessna R182) into a dirt strip, just to the south of the pueblo of Tequila and after scoping out some of the farms, I was relaxing in the plazuela. Now its not uncommon to see people walking around with bottles of the distilled nectar of agave, but strangely there was a young man carrying a couple bottles of what looked to be red wine.
I immediately grew suspicious and carefully followed the man into a tequila tasting room where I sat at one of the plastic ‘Tecate’ tables, adorned with limes, salt and a bottle of Huichol salsa. After, browsing the shop, the man sat down at my table and introduced himself as Mr. Barragan, from the Bourassa Winery.
“Agent White, what are you doing here in Tequila”, he asked, followed by “Our intel suggests that you should be in Napa, trying to discover ‘our’ versions of a Bordeaux blend”. I replied, “I am, supposed to be in Napa, but I needed to pick up some samples for a personal mission, I’ll be in Napa in the next couple days in search of a few exceptional Bordeaux styled wines.”
“You could have saved me a trip” he proclaimed, “But not all is lost, I have some wine for you to taste, assuming your palate is not ruined by the tequila.” I had not yet indulged, so I was prepared to taste his samples. Thankfully, the cantina/tienda had a couple of wine glasses.
All I could say is ‘wow’, the wines that Mr. Barragan poured where amazing. Having spent so much time in France tasting Premier Cru Bordeaux wines, their 2003 Bourassa Vineyards Harmony³ was like being back in Pauillac. “You must come and visit us to meet Victor Bourassa and our winemaker Gary Galleron when you’re up in Napa.”
The juxtaposition of drinking a fantastic wine in Tequila was strange at best, and almost surreal. (Try enjoying wine listening to Banda.)
I was getting anxious to get back to California, and subsequently Napa to gather the full intel and conduct a complete tasting, but I’d have to wait to fly back, I needed to wait “8 hours bottle to throttle”, knowing that the earliest we could fly back was the morning, we finished enjoying the wine, and even a few tequilas.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Bourassa Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Bourassa Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
About This Wine:
Historically, Petite Sirah is known as the ultimate blending grape. It offers great complexity, robust flavors, and a big tannic structure. The flavor profile expresses big fruit flavors followed by Spice and pepper. It has been said that Petite Sirah is derived from two grape varieties that grow in the Rhone region of France (Syrah and Peloursin). In France, this grape is known as Durif, named after the man who cloned the two grapes. The grapes for this wine come from the northern hills of Calistoga were the heat of the afternoon sun help ripen the fruit to its full potential. This wine offers abundant flavors of apricot, with a hint of rosemary, followed by a subtle hint of spice and pepper on the finish. Enjoy this wine with a rich hearty meal this winter.
Bourassa Vineyards, the Essence of Paradise
Welcome to Bourassa Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s most distinguished wineries. Bourassa Vineyards skillfully produces rich, complex blends and world class varietals from only the finest, self-maintained vineyards in Napa Valley. Born from a family tradition of winemaking with a passion for quality, our wines are hand-crafted in small lots to ensure unsurpassed excellence in every bottle. Our award-winning vintages display varietally correct balance paired with handcrafted passion.
The Bourassa tradition of winemaking started in 1899 in Naples, Italy with Victor Nozzolillo, Victor Bourassa’s grandfather. In 1910, he came to American by himself, greeted only by an older brother who also left Italy at a very young age. Nozzolillo fought in and survived WWI before settling down to raise a family.
On Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA in the early 1900’s, street-style farmers’ markets were the order of the day. Grapes from other states were on display on wooden boxes, ripe for home winemaking (most of which was done in the basement during Prohibition.) It was Victor Bourassa’s grandfather who provided him an inheritance of tradition as a winemaker. He instilled in Bourassa an eagerness to learn the ancient craft of winemaking.
On the other side of town, Bourassa’s other grandfather Joseph Bourassa, tended his entrepreneurial spirit by building a neighborhood grocery store from the ground up. He too planted a seed within Vic Bourassa to honor and build on tradition.
Many of Victor Bourassa’s memories provide confidence in seeking the knowledge in winemaking and entrepreneurship for his wine business today. Bourassa Vineyards is built on this strong family tradition in Napa Valley. Bourassa recognized the importance of these people who have touched his life. They have taught him to work hard, have integrity and always be optimistic in life. Thus the result is the fruition of Vic Bourassa’s lifelong dream to produce and sell wines that would make his grandfathers proud.
Appellation: Napa Valley
Sub-Appellation: Napa Valley
Bottling Date: August 30, 2008
Oak: 24 month
Release Date: October 01, 2008
Time In Oak: 2 years
Varietal: Petite Sirah