Date Night Fridays: There Will Be Blood
Set at the turn of the last century, There Will Be Blood stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a greedy prospector who will stop at nothing to get his hands on oil holdings in the young and untamed Wild West. As the tale develops, it doesn’t take long to realize the film is very serious and intricate, spiced with Plainview’s priceless tenacity.
Petite sirah—a red grape variety known for its deep dark colors and fresh jammy flavors—is a great wine that can complement this powerful plot. Developed in France by Dr. Francois Durif in the 1850s, petite sirah is a unique blend of syrah (grown in the Northern Rhone) and peloursin (a more obscure, rustic-style grape that originated in southern France).
After finding its way to America in the 1880s, this hearty grape variety went on to survive the devastating Phylloxera virus in the 1890s, the Great Depression, and the World Wars. And despite being pushed aside in the marketplace by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the 1980s and early 1990s, this dark colored grape has recently roared back to become one of the most fashionable wines to drink, especially with hearty meals.
Today, the big and bold flavors of petite sirah or "pet," as the old immigrant farmers like call it, are bottled separately by over 100 high-end producers in California. Many of these wineries are members of P.S. I Love You, a non-profit organization that promotes the unique flavors of finished wines made with petite sirah grapes to consumers and the media.
A classy full-bodied example is the Stanton 2009 Petite Sirah, Estate Grown, St. Helena, Napa Valley ($44.99). Made with high quality fruit grown by proprietor Doug Stanton and crafted by winemaker Dave Phinney (the founder of the Orin Swift brand and the creator of the cult wine The Prisoner, respectively) the wine reveals its traits quickly in the glass. With a dark, inky color, the wine features attractive aromas and deep flavors of briary blackberry, ripe blueberry and black currants infused with hints of chocolate, spice and oak, chewy tannins, and a long, extended finish. Much like Mr. Plainview, it is hard to keep a good grape down for long!