Concannon Vineyard was built in 1883 in the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco Bay. Life and grape growing was simpler then. But Petite Sirah was always a dark, brooding grape used to blend into everyday table wines. Third-generation owner Jim Concannon began bottling Petite Sirah as a standalone wine in 1961 – and the beat, even though the winery has been sold numerous times in recent years, goes on. Although some of Concannon’s greatest old vines were dug up to plant more “fashionable” varieties — the 1978 Estate bottling still remains in my “favorites” category — today’s wines are always easy to understand, richly grapey and a good value bet for your summer cookouts. I like it served a bit cool.
2014 Concannon Vineyard Petite Sirah, San Francisco Bay $13-20 srp
Opaque purple color that lightens with more than three years in the bottle. A nose of crushed boysenberry, mulberry and cherry compote. Aeration reveals a smoky, graphite-laden and almost brown sugar-ish feeling. The mouth texture is juicy, full-flavored but surprisingly lithe, soft and supple. Blackberry, cherry and chocolatey elements prevail with good acidity to temper and refresh. Short-term cellaring will only improve its integrity. Much fun to drink, try with ham, Carolina barbecue or spicy brats. (90% Petite Sirah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) Drink now-2021.