Most of you already know this, but it bears repeating. The big story in wine is the one in your glass. We're drinking the greatest wines ever made, and they will only get better.
New and better wines keep coming from everywhere and anywhere. Because of that competition in the market, prices for many wines are not only stable, but also coming down. Maybe not for the most sought-after wines, those with a special cachet. Demand for those wines is so frenzied as to support prices at the highest levels.No, the action is more in the middle ground, where wines with little or no pedigree size up favorably with the elite.
If only most Petite Sirahs were as delicious and refined, rich and graceful as the 2009 Relic Napa Valley Old Vines Petite from Frediani Vineyard ($52, 198 cases made). Maybe then people would have a different take on this old-time underdog grape, and Napa Valley for that matter. Petite Sirah is one of wine's unsung heroes, almost always an afterthought grape, except for from sites like Frediani Vineyard in Calistoga. It's a vine that owes its heritage to the mix of grapes that hail from France's Southern Rhône Valley. Most of the praise—here as in there—goes to the better-known and more popular Syrahs and Grenaches and blends that hail from there.
That won't change, but one sip of this wine will give you a new appreciation for Petite Sirah presented in a supple, fleshy, deeply fruited style.
Silver Oak is one of the most recognizable names in wine. You can spot a bottle on a dining table from 50 paces.
It is also one of California's most successful wineries for a variety of reasons. It has become a textbook example of how to do it right, from wine and style and image to sales and marketing.
It has maintained a distinct style that hasn't wavered much over the years. It has, rather amazingly, retained a cult-like following, which might shock most people considering the term cult today means high-quality, high-priced, hard-go-get wines and Silver Oak is practically a factory. You can find it in multitudes of retailing and fine-dining establishments.