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Petite Sirah (aka Petite Syrah and Durif) is a wonderful grape that is somewhat off the beaten path as far as wine goes.  In my travels tasting wine in California, there are some wineries that do a fantastic job with this varietal. however, it rarely gets center stage.  The actual size of the grapes is small, hence the petite part, which means that there is a high ratio of skins to juice.  That translates into a concentrated, rich and flavorful wine.  Sometimes, IMO, it is too much concentration, but every now and then one stumbles upon a gem that makes me wonder why all wines cannot be this fantastic in their smooth and decadent richness.  The gem I am referring to today was made by Pierce Ranch Vineyards and so sadly, the two bottles I had of this wine are now part of history.

08 Pierce Petite Sirah

Lately I have foolishly convinced myself that I am prefer lighter, elegant, earthy wines.  And then this beauty comes along with her fruitiness, full body and opulence and reminds me yet again to stop trying to type cast my wine preferences.  In the right hands, a talented wine maker can make a great wine from any varietal, provided the grapes had good growing conditions.  That means some great wines are fruity, some are earthy, some are full bodied and some are lighter in style.

A wine like this could actually be enjoyed sans food but out of respect for the wine and because I had to feed my family dinner anyway, I prepared what I had hoped would be a good pairing of a meal.  And it was.

Food pairing for Pierce Petite Sirah

Tonight’s menu included grilled filet mignon, roasted broccoli, “pizza” zucchini and yellow lentils.  The steak was seasoned with my spice blend of the month – salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and thyme.  Just enough to add flavor but not too much to overshadow the taste of the steak.

I am a big fan of roasting vegetables, especially in the colder months.  Roasting brings out a richness in flavor that simply does not happen when you boil or steam vegetables.  I used the same spice blend as on the steaks with a little olive oil to encourage browning and discourage sticking.  Roast at 425 for 15-25 until browned, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Roasted Broccoli pre-roasting

Next up were the yellow lentils.  Similar to red lentils, these tasty morsels lose their shape when cooked resembling a puree of sorts.  Make sure you cook them enough as undercooked lentils leave something to be desired.  I added some salt, butter, garlic powder, onion powder and a dash of curry once cooked and drained.  Just enough curry to add an interesting flavor but not enough that I would need to call them curry lentils.

Last up was “pizza” zucchini. The idea for this came from a post on Pinterest but I modified mine to include sliced zucchini and a small amount of tomato sauce with mozzarella, parm and oregano on top.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until brown.

Zucchini pizza pre-oven

Zucchini pizza post oven

This side dish was delicious, but in reality, was a failed attempt at getting my two year old to eat zucchini.  He was given a plate that included everything in the spread but only ate ketchup for dinner, with his hands.

Lessons learned:

– Buy more Pierce Petite Sirah.  They now ship to Atlanta so I am in luck

– Stop trying to understand why a two year old would rather eat ketchup than all of the delicious options I prepare on a daily basis

– Find new vegetables to make a “pizza” from

– Remember that any varietal can yield a great wine if in the hands of a great wine maker (reference Pinot Grigio lesson at Ristobar in SF)