Monthly Archives: March 2012

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