Category Archives: Dark and Delicious

Dark and Delicious – Petite Sirah and Gastronomy

Every year around Valentine’s Day the Petite Sirah organization, P.S. I Love You, puts on an event called Dark and Delicious.  It takes place at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda.  Tickets cost around $63.00 per person and it starts at 6pm.  This event is to celebrate the grape Petite Sirah and the wine that is made from this very small, very dark and very mysterious grape.  There must have been about 300 people there.  Everyone carrying around their wine glass in one hand and their plate in the other.  Most everyone has smiles on their faces.  We were able to speak to the winemakers, owners and other staff of each winery.  We were there for about 3 hours.  We saw a few fellow wine bloggers there too.  This is my 4th year in a row going and I can’t wait until next year!


The Petite Sirah grape as we know it in California is the same as the French variety Durif.  Petite Sirah is related to the true Syrah of the Rhone Valley.  Syrah is the father of Petite Sirah.  Petite Sirah arose as a seedling around 1880, in the experimental vineyards of Dr. Durif in southern France.  The seed that became Durif was the result of a  cross-pollination between an old French grape called Peloursin and Syrah.  Thus Petite Sirah shares half of its DNA with Syrah.  This was discovered in 1998 by using DNA paternity analysis methods just like those used with humans.


Larry and I enjoy Petite Sirah very much and this venue pairs it so well with food, which really helps capture the true complexity of the grape.  Below are a few wineries and caterers, restaurants and chocolatetiers that I enjoyed.



Odonata Wines – Santa Cruz Mountains.  They are open the first Saturday of each month 12-5 or by appointment


Twisted Oak Winery – Valleito and Murphys.  Sunday-Friday 11:30-5:30, Saturday 10:30-5:30


Gustafson Family Vineyard – Geyserville.  Saturdays 10-4 or by appointment


Occasio Winery – Livermore.  Summer hours Fri-Sun 12-5.  Call for off-season hours


Guglielmo Wineryl.  Open daily 10-5


Lava Cap Winery – Placerville.  Open daily 11-5


Mounts Family Winery – Healdsburg.  Saturday 11-5, Sunday 12-4:30, by appt on Monday, Thursday and Friday 10-1:30


Artezin Wines – Hess Collection– Napa.  Open daily 10-5:30


Grizzly Republic Wines – Paso Robles.  Tasting room to open soon


Nottingham Cellars – Livermore.  Friday-Sunday 12-4:30


Stags Leap – Napa.  Tasting tours only by reservation, daily 10 and 2:30, $45.00 per person


Stanton Winery – Oakville.  No tasting room, mailing list only


Harmony Wynelands – Lodi.  Monday-Saturday 11-5:30, Sunday 12:30-5:00


Shadowbrook Winery – Walnut Creek.  No tasting room


Tres Sabores – St. Helena.  Private tastings and tours, 1 ½ hours $25.00 per person. By appointment only




Blue Heron Catering – Oakland.  Chicago Boneless BBQ Ribs on a bun and Chipotle Slaw.


California Rose Catering – Berkeley.  Sourdough Crostini with Seared Pork Loin and a Chimichurri Sauce


Bert’s Desserts – Petaluma.  Petite Sirah Cream Truffle and Dark Chocolate Truffles made with Petite Sirah


Luis Moro Chocolate – Scotts Valley.  Loved the lavender, orange and elderberry chocolates!


Nosh This – San Francisco – Bacon Salted Caramels Dipped in Chocolate.  Need I say more!


DK Catering – Rohnert Park.  Pulled BBQ Pork and Port Satay with Citrus Sauce


Paul’s Paella – Oakland.  Paella Strudel with a Petite Sirah Fudge Reduction Sauce


Marin French Cheese – Petaluma.  Enjoyed the Pesto Brie and the Triple Cream Blue


Chef Tyler Stone – Bay Area.  Sous-Vide Pork Belly with Umebeshi Plum Sauce and Micro Greens


Live for More Fudge – Livermore.  Good fudge, tried Raspberry Chocolate Swirl and Butter Brickle fudge

P.S. I Love You – Dark and Delicious

On February 19th we went to another great event in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was put on by the local P.S. I Love You, the Petite Sirah Advocacy Organization.  The event was called Dark and Delicious.  It was held on Alameda at Rock Wall Winery which is on an old Naval Base, so the facility was huge with very high ceilings.  The barrels that were stacked against the walls looked very small compared to the size of the room.

                    Dark and Delicious Event at Rock Wall Winery

There were about 300-400 people all willing and ready to eat and drink.  The event cost $70 per person.  There were over 40 wineries, and about 30 different restaurants and caterers.  The wineries and food companies were interspersed together.  Unlike the Make-A-Wish foundation fundraiser we went to a couple weekends ago, where the wineries poured whatever they wanted, here they just poured Petite Sirah.  

I need to apologize.  I lost my piece of paper that I took all my notes of the evening.  So, I’m going off of my memory with some help from Larry.

Some of the Petite Sirah stood out more than others such as Cecchetti Wine Company Line 39, Tres Sabores, Twisted Oak, Concannon, Heringer Estates, Michael-David, and Ursa Vineyards to name a few.  The cool thing about the Petite Sirah is that it grows in many different regions.  Such as Lake County, Sierra Foothills, Lodi, Livermore, Paso Robles to name a few.


                                         Swirling the Petite Sirah                                                                                       Serving Up Some Food

The food was overall very good.  There was a lot of meat, but that makes sense when you are trying to pair with Petite Sirah.  There were about 4-5 different versions of pulled pork sliders, one that stood out was where the pork was served with coleslaw and a lime aioli, there were a number of different meatballs too but the one with bacon in the meatball and served on a crostini with caramelized onion was great as was the wild boar meatballs.  There was deep fried curried cauliflower that was really good but didn’t stand up to the wine so well.  Our favorite of the evening was a slow braised pork shoulder served on top of a homemade savory bread pudding with a Petite Sirah plum sauce.  There also was pork served on a light Lavosh cracker with a cilantro pesto, foie gras, paella and homemade beef jerky.  There was plenty of chocolate there too.  There were brownies, chocolate with bacon bits in it, chocolate truffles filled with Petite Sirah cream, bacon strips with chocolate drizzled on top, (was that a dessert or was that an appetizer?  Whatever, it was good!) there was some seriously intense fudge, I had their peanut butter caramel chocolate, Larry had their dark chocolate.  We left that booth with big smiles on our faces. 


                                  Fantastic Fudge from Z-Cioccolato                                                          The Best Pork Dish Of The Night – Bistro 29

We bumped into a few blogger friends Thea Dwelle from Luscious Lushes and Alana Gentry from A Girl with a Glass.

We want to thank the P.S. I Love You for treating Larry and I to this event.  We loved everything about it and would highly recommend it to everyone who likes a good bold wine.