Thanksgiving help—Part One

Thanksgiving emphatically is one of the biggest wine times of the year.

Next week we look at last-minute panic buys. This week, a look at things to slurp post-meal when party is roiling and you need help putting up with your sister’s friend, the one she sadly invited to your meal “for old time’s sake.”

First up, petite sirah—a very robust red grape known as “durif” in Australia and France. Nothing is petite about petite sirah. It is very tannic, dark, acidic, a serious powerhouse wine, especially when made in California. No matter what you ate earlier, petite sirah will trump those flavors and start a whole new round of palate pleasures.

Just to make life complicated, petite sirah has nothing to do with petite syrah, a small-berry syrah clone grown in the Rhône Valley of eastern France. That is another story.

Zinfandel is wine to pair with “I’ve got a long weekend, so let’s celebrate my team’s victory or forget my team’s holiday humiliation.”

Like petite sirah, zin has another name, “primitivo” (in Italy), and it found its terroir sweet spot in California.
Zins can achieve incredible ripeness and pin-back-your-ears alcohol content accompanied by fruit-bomb flavors. Blackberry, raspberry, plum predominate; throw in low tannin, lots of juicy deliciousness.

Then there is white zinfandel, zin harvested early to reduce sugar and made into a zinfandel blush. Haughty drinkers sneer down upturned noses, but for every robust bottle of red zin sold, six bottles of white zin make a merchant’s cash register sing. Zin permutations can make all post-feast, post-game partiers happy.

Tasting notes:

• Michael David Petite Petit 2013: Substantial, bold, delicious; 85% petite sirah, 15% petit verdot; people who don’t think they like big reds can find pleasure in this. $17-18

• Saved Red Wine 2012: Carousel of flavors from grape data dump: 31% zinfandel, 23% carignane, 12% petite sirah, 11% malbec, 10% merlot, 9% petit verdot, 2% mixed black grapes, 1% ruby cabernet, 1% syrah; plush, fruit-forward pleaser. $22

• Michael David Earthquake Lodi Zinfandel 2013; Flavors line up and just keep marching across your palate. $26

Last round: There is a time to stop drinking wine. It is called “sleep.”

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