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My September Wine of the Month

Keating Winery
2008 Petite Sirah
Rockpile Vineyard
Sonoma County

Wow.  I love this wine.  If you visit my site on a regular basis, you know that I’m a sucker for Syrah.  Petite Sirah, however, is NOT Syrah.  This is a common mistake made by many casual wine drinkers.  These two varieties, however, DO share some similarities and perhaps some geographical history.  Petite Sirah vines have grown in California since the 1880s, and DNA research has suggested that this grape is likely Durif, a cross of the grapes Peloursin (an ancient Rhone varietal) and Syrah (another Rhone varietal), which was created in France in the 1880s.

The Wine – The color is dark and inky, as most Petite Sirah wines are.  This wine is very aromatic, with blackberry, cassis and licorice, along with wintergreen, rosemary and some wet dirt on the nose.  The palate has the cassis, currant and dark fruit, complimented by a nice earthiness.  The alcohol is at 15.1%, but the wine is well balanced and has nice complexity.  The finish is long.  Again, I love this wine!

My Experience Visiting the Winery – I visited Keating a couple of years ago, and remember that the woman walking us through the wines was not very warm and fuzzy.  She was okay, but seemed a bit bored and uninterested.  I’ve since read great compliments of others at Keating, so don’t let this stop you from visiting them.  The tasting room, on the other hand, was fabulous.  It’s large enough to accommodate many people, with a tasting bar as well as comfy looking lounge areas.  The décor is modern and very cozy.  It’s a great space to enjoy the Keating wines, which were all very good.

The Journey – Keating’s tasting room is located at Cornerstone in the Carneros region of Sonoma.  Cornerstone is an upscale shopping gallery with shops, markets, a gourmet cafe and winery tasting rooms.   Nestled around it are nine acres of gardens.  It’s actually a great first or second stop on your way into Sonoma County coming from SFO.  My first stop is always Gloria Ferrer for a glass of bubbly, and Keating is located right across the street, on Arnold Drive.  This will be my 2nd stop in February!

Check out Keating’s website at:

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