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Wine: Petite sirah’s big taste

“Don’t be fooled by the name.”

“Don’t be fooled by the name,” said Sara Schneider in Sunset. Petite sirah is a diminutive grape, but the wine made from it is “anything but little.” Thanks to the relatively high ratio of skin and seeds, this underrated hybrid delivers bigger tannins and bolder flavors than the world’s trophy grapes, and it’s fared better in warm, dry California than it ever did in its native France.

2010 Concannon ‘Captain Joe’s’ Reserve ($36). “Plush tannins” and flavors of mulberry, star anise, and mocha characterize this standout from the winery that bottled America’s first petite sirah, back in 1961.

2010 Ancient Peaks($35). This petite sirah offers “intense black fruit” softened by “a whiff of violets.”

2011 Ridge Lytton Estate ($30).Ridge is known for zinfandels and cabernets, but its petite sirah is also top-flight, redolent of cherries, mint, and Asian spices.

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