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The big game is nigh

Matching the game: the artwork for Orin Swift Abstract wines. The label was inspired by a collage displayed in the living room of a designer in Milan. The winemaker spent years collecting the imagery and individually piecing the snips togethe (Photograph courtesy Orin Swift/Instagram)

I remember well a summer day long ago when my wife-to-be pointed to a building and in a voice tinged with reverence and awe simply said, “there it is”. “It” was Lambeau Field in the city of Green Bay, and so of course since then I have counted myself amongst the most fervently faithful and loyal fans that any sports team anywhere could hope for.

We were there eight weeks ago to visit her family and those Packers did not disappoint. Still, I eagerly wait for my favourite wine country city to take on a team that often makes me think of Bluck’s Island right here in Hamilton Harbour.

I am not sure how many of you know that one of the all-time most repeated movie lines - from 1939 - “Toto I don’t believe that we’re in Kansas anymore” helped earn the funds that allowed the artistic creator to purchase this island and build his dream house thereon.

The cowardly lion even went on to be featured in a story that took place here.

Maybe you plan to serve Johnsonville brats from that town just an hour’s drive south of Green Bay. We will.

I must suggest Petite Sirah, discovered in France in the 1800’s and one of the least planted wine grapes on Earth at only 10,000 acres – mostly in California.

With names like “Machete” and “Troublemaker” they are certainly not wimpy, but instead bursting with copious and delicious fruit and Californian sunshine. They are a perfect match for the strength, cunning and endurance that we are about to witness.

I will list it in order of price, rather like a restaurant wine list. 2018 Orin Swift “Machete” Petite Sirah is a blend of mostly Petite Sirah, but it does have a smattering of Syrah and Grenache.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate writes, “deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Proprietary Red Machete needs some swirling to reveal a core of beautiful crushed black plums, boysenberries, and black cherry compote plus hints of cracked black pepper, garrigue and camphor.

“Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with muscular, crunchy black fruits and plush tannins, finishing long with lovely freshness. 93/100."

I should add that the twelve different photos on the labels that feature a “strong woman” and a car, were selected from over 10,000 that were taken for this project. $74.00. Stock #6643.

The team that produced 2017 Stags Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah share these thoughts. “2017 Petite Sirah is vibrant and expressive with a cornucopia of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry fruits interwoven with floral musky notes of violet and jasmine, alongside more savory herbal notes of white pepper, earthy loam, and crushed rock mineral notes.

“On the palate, juicy flavors of creamy cassis, macerated blackberry, cherry kirsch, black licorice and peppery plum envelope the rich, saturated mouthfeel, followed by a subtle black gunpowder tea, allspice and black pepper note from the oak aging integrates seamlessly.

“This wine is intense and robust with velvety tannins and a generous lengthy finish, with acidity supporting throughout, encouraging you to enjoy it now, but has the depth and complexity to age for many years to come”.

This is certainly an old favourite of mine. $64.00. Stock #6343.

The folks responsible for 2020 J. Lohr “Tower Road” Paso Robles Petite Sirah comment, “we started hand-harvesting Petite Sirah on September 25th, 2020. In the final blend, we added 8 per cent Malbec which provides red fruit notes and a plush mid-palate. Inclusion of the white Rhône varieties Grenache Blanc and Viognier bring nuanced floral aromatics and length to the finish”.

Wine.com and The Wine Enthusiast both rate it a most respectable 91/100. $33.25. Stock #6411.

The site Wine & Drama says of 2018 Michael David “Petite Petit,” “it is like a party in your mouth” and that they “love the label”.

Wine Loft opines, “Michael David Petite Petit offering a joyous explosion of color and fun, it is a substantial, dense, full-bodied, whopper style of wine loaded with pure black fruit and vanilla flavors that coat the palate. It reveals remarkable richness with a finish that is slightly dry and seems to linger. 85 per cent Petite Sirah 15 per cent Petit Verdot”.

I have a bottle sitting on my desk and their labels are truly works of art. $29.00. Stock #7101.

Even though Hope Family “Troublemaker” Paso Robles #14 cannot claim to have Petite Sirah as its main grape. I do feel it appropriate to include it here, and if I share the following from the winery, I hope you will understand.

“Comprising varieties that flourish in Paso Robles’ distinct growing region, Troublemaker consists of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre and Zinfandel. Syrah is the backbone of the wine, setting the stage for a fruit-forward style and a full body.

“Troublemaker Blend 14 has an opaque purple-black colour and is bursting with jammy black fruits such as boysenberry and blackberry, along with a spicy raspberry note. The juicy fruit notes are accentuated by underlying tones of smoke, pink peppercorns, green tobacco leaves, dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Velvety tannins and balancing acidity bring out the vibrant fruit character of this complex blend”. How can this not be a football and brats’ wine? $28.90. Stock #8029.

The Bogle winery in Lodi gives us such a good selection of explicitly Californian wine at the core, that we will wrap up with their 2020 Bogle Petite Sirah that can be yours for $24.90.

The Wine Enthusiast certainly agrees, with a score of 90 points and this description, “a total bang-for-the-buck, this wine shows great depth of flavor, with notes of blackberry bush, black pepper, fennel, tinned black olive, pill box, star anise and cacao.

“The palate is generously filled with mouth coating tannins, adding a structural backbone against the alcohol. The perfect companion to any hearty meal”. Stock #8043.

For those lovers who are thinking of Valentine's Day please stop by to choose from rosé bubblies as you will find three Proseccos, four Champagnes and five assorted ones. Bubbles, rosés, and love just go together!

• This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows, Lightbourn Ltd. and Discovery Wines & Spirits written by Michael Robinson. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm. The Burrows Lightbourn retail store is located Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Discovery Wines & Spirits stores are in Hamilton (Corner of Queen & Reid Street, 232-0090) and Pembroke (Bakery Lane, 296-9463). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at discoverywines.bm

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Published February 09, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated February 09, 2024 at 7:24 am)

The big game is nigh

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