Petite Syrah, 1979 Roudon-Smith

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | January 1982

What does mechanical engineering and wine have in common? Give up? A correct answer would be Bob Roudon and Jim Smith. These two engineers met in 1971 -and developed a friendship that led to a wine making venture. Their wives Annamaria and June lend support and talent to complete the team. Their winery is located in Santa Cruz. Bob Roudon is the self taught winemaker. He has a bent for avoiding over processing of wines, and concentrates on minimal handling and natural stabilization. Jim Smith handles the vineyard end of the business. In the early 70’s they experimented with several var­ieties and settled on specializing with three red wines and one white wine. I bring you their Petite Sirah. One of the most outstanding I have ever had. A masterpiece.

For some time, our California enologists have been predicting great things to come from the Petite Sirah grape – That time is upon us now. It was previously thought that the California Petite Sirah grape was the same as the Syrah of the Rhone Valley in France. (Of Cote Rotie, Hermitage, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape fame) This has been shown otherwise. It is traced to the Duriff grape of France. Both produce wines that can be intense in color, bold in aroma of black currants and pepper, with a mouth filling, burly, assertive taste. They can be harsh and rough when young, but mellow and silken on maturity. Prior to the 60’s, wine made from California Petite Sirah was used for blending. It was a source of color and tannin. In the last twenty years our vintners have developed free standing varietals that show great breed and prom­ise. Bob has used a Cote Rotie technique of blend­ing some white wine with his Petite Sirah. He used 5% Chardonnay to soften and lighten.

The color is opaque deep purple red. The nose is a fragrant berry nose, with overtones of pepper. The taste is powerful. It has a full body, glycer­inny texture, with good balance. Tannin is appar­ent but not overpowering. It is long on its var­ietal flavor. Serve at room temperature with roast or robust sauced meat dishes. Pasta with marinara sauce sounds good too.

CELLARING NOTES: Will improve for 10 years or more. Worth tracking.



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