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Profiles

International Wine Review ~ Back to where it all started with Petite Sirah

If there is a quintessential piece written on Petite Sirah, it’s been undertaken by co-publishers Dr. Mike Potashnik and Jay Youmans MW of the International Wine Review. [Mike’s on the left, Jay’s on the right.]

I can write this with complete certainty, because I’ve been deeply involved as one of the founders of PS I Love You, the advocacy group for Petite Sirah. (Louis Foppiano and Christine Wells are my two partners in creating PS I Love You).

The creation of PSILY was a deliberate attempt to gain publicity for the variety; consequently I’ve been monitoring everybody’s writings on behalf of Petite since October 2002.

It was declared at the Petite Sirah Symposium Louis held at his winery, “We need publicity for this variety.” I saw that declaration as a major opportunity to get a job done for something that had become an underdog…. I put my cape on, and off we went!

So, in the process, not only have I seen some great things written about Petite, but I’ve also come to understand that it’s nearly impossible for people to:

  • Know the difference between Petite Sirah and Syrah (Syrah + Peloursin = Petite Sirah)
  • Divorce themselves from wanting to think about it and write about it as Petite “Syrah” (Unless it’s on a label that way, it’s only acceptable from the BTT if it’s spelled with an “i” for all future bottlings)
  • To understand Petite is a significant heritage cultivar (Along side Zinfandel, it’s been with us since 1884, and in the 1960’s Napa was planted to Petite by 60 percent!)

Along came International Wine Review, ready to take on the challenge in Issue #1 of their new publication.

It took lots of time to help Mike and Jay get it up and running with Petite. I remember telling Mike, take anything you want from the PSILY Website, because that’s why it was created, as a resource.

When his first issue was printed, I was literally blown away, as were all the members of PS I Love You. I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined anything so comprehensive. It serves as the best written resource on Petite Sirah to date.

This past week, Fulton Mather of David Fulton Winery sent an E-mail to me. He wrote the following and I asked permission to quote him:

Jo: I wanted to thank you for encouraging me to have our wine reviewed. We did go ahead, as you suggested, to have Mike Potashnik and associates taste and rate our wines. The result was to find our Petite Sirah listed at the top of the sixty Petite Sirahs considered.. This represents the first time we’ve had our wine professionally evaluated.”

His score was a 94, and he couldn’t have been more pleased. This was the highlight of my day.

It’s taken people like Mike and Jay, both of whom are academics in every sense of the word, with totally open minds and a burning desire to completely understand Petite Sirah, to write something so sophisticatedly comprehensive for this historical variety.

Now, they’ve just revisited and released a follow-up to their first issue in their Issue #12, and it adds to the quality available on Petite Sirah.

Incidentally, every issue takes on cultivars and dissects then in ways that each variety deserves. Their explorations are a credit to academia and tenacity. I subscribe to their newsletter, because I not only want their research close at hand for each variety, but I also believe in supporting those within the business that support us all. These independent voices are so very important. Without this kind of talent, we’d all be left to our own devices. I urge you to go to International Wine Review, and bookmark it as one of the places where you need to visit when you need in depth variety information.

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