Why I chose Petite Sirah ahd you should too.

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Petite Sirah is the Boldest of all the Big Reds

Why do I love Petite Sirah?

No grape says California quite like Petite Sirah.  California, like America, is all about big:  Big flavors, big colors, big experiences…Petite Sirah does all of this just by being itself.  It also adds the finishing touches to a grilled ribeye, a pasta-calabrese with red-sauce, or a tri-tip barbeque cooked low-and-slow on the charcoal grill.


When did Petite Sirah become a part of my life?


I fell in love with Petite Sirah when I arrived in Napa a few years ago, but I think this passion has been a long time coming.


When I first started drinking wine, I was a cab kid.  Everything I wanted to drink was cab…or beer of course.  It was the fall of 2000, I was a sophomore at the University of Maine, and my girlfriend at the time was the second-smartest wine person I knew next to my friend Douglas.  She explained to me that the legs on the wine were an indicator of quality, and seeing the wine’s viscosity coating on the cab glass, I knew that it was the wine for me.  I was just a kid, but what can I say, I’m still a leg man.


Two years later, driving cross-country in an old Buick and trying to make sense of the world, I found myself drunk in a sushi bar in Florida with some restaurant-industry friends who showed me some of the better qualities of Zinfandel and Shiraz.  It was on that day that I first learned that it was OK to drink red wine with fish.  The rules red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat were forever shattered.  A fresh plate of butter and garlic sautéed muscles was made magical by a bottle of Australian shiraz that night.  The Zinfandel came later in the night with the maki and sashimi.  I’m not saying it is my go-to these days (give me a nice gewürztraminer or prosecco with escolar sashimi and watch the relaxation wave over me) but that night the jamminess of the zinfandel and the cracked pepper and raspberry notes of the Shiraz made me re-think everything I’d ever learned about wine. 


When do I like to drink petite sirah?


With the popularity of Robert Parker and his scoring system driving all wines to be bigger, more fruit-forward, more oaky with firm, strong tannic structures, it’s a wonder that the Petite Sirah grape is not one that is found in every restaurant menu on the planet.


Perfect to pair with a grilled ribeye, roasted lamb, or a barbequed brisket (or Tri-tip, as we do in California), this wine is one that will make you close your eyes and smile.  I love it with pasta, I love it with pizza, I love it with cheeses and salami and French bread.  I love this wine most after noon until about two a.m.


What is my favorite petite sirah?


I’m biased, but Debra Michael’s Petite Sirah, 2013 from the Barberis Family Vineyards.  Aged 22 months on 100% French Oak (30% new), this single vineyard, Calistoga AVA inky dream has quiet floral notes to great you.  The aroma of cooked fruit opens into a palate of highly concentrated blackberry and a complex play on tannins.  While extremely fruit-driven, the back palate sees the tannins soften up and almost flirt with velvety chalkiness.  This wine is perfect to pair with a grilled ribeye or a red dress.  Choose wisely.


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Try Three Bottles

We will ship three bottles straight to your door.  Just tell us where to send them.  You can enjoy them with some grilled steaks this summer.

Try a Six Pack

The 2013 vintage is being touted as one of the best in a long time.  While they last, grab six bottles and lay a couple down for the future.

© Copyright 2015 Debra Michael's Winery

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Matt Paterson is a Boston-born wine lover with an English degree and is the Founder of Debra Michael's Winery.  He worked with over a dozen winemakers during two harvests in the winery as a cellar hand in Calistoga, California, was the Director of Partner Care and Development at GrapeSeed Wine Fund, and was Chief of Sales at nakedwines.com.  Matt now lives in Napa, California.

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