Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to share this wonderful wine with my good friend Bill who had just suffered through a very difficult business meeting and was seeking red, fruity comfort. The first bottle we tried ( a French wine with a very fancy label) just didn't cut it; it was labeled "pruney", and found its way to a watery grave.
The MoniClaire 2006 Petite Sirah was noticeably different to us even before the first sip, with a warm fragrant nose and outstanding color and clarity. Its promise deepened as we sampled it, with full forward fruit and solid evidence of it's 12 month aging in French oak barrels. The mid palate was both big and silky; characteristics that are usually mutually exclusive. And the finish was complex and earthy with no bitter or harsh aftertaste that sometimes taints a good Sirah. As the winemaker notes in his website, just a hint of soft vanilla spice was present. We really enjoyed this wine, and I think it helped poor Bill mellow out some from post meeting distress.
MoniClaire Vineyards was the dream of fellow "Silicon-Valley-ite" Pete Smiderle and his wife Mary Beth, and was named after their two lovely daughters, Claire and Monica. Based in the Dry Creek Valley of Healdsburg, CA which has to be one of the loveliest places on earth, these wines are rich, complex, and incredibly drinkable.
This wine would be lovely with marinated skirt steaks and caramelized onions, BBQ leg of lamb, a Gazpacho stuffed round steak (round steak pounded thin, spread with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and red onions then sprinkled with lime juice, rolled up, secured with toothpicks and grilled), or Steak Tartare. It is full, BIG, and rich, and deserves a complex mix of flavors and textures.
Music Pairings: A big "in-your-face" wine that is still smooth and elegant, I would pair it with Stan Kenton big band music, Toad-the-Wet-Sprocket anything, or anything from Wayne Wallace's "Three-in-One" album.
Other Pairings: This is a great post meeting destresser wine, but would also be a wonderful reward for a good yearly bonus, a great backyard BBQ wine with a few close friends who appreciate wine, or a fabulous "side-of-the-hot-tub" wine.
Where to Buy:
From the winemaker's website:
In San Francisco, visit Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, 398 Hayes (415) 551-1590 and
Poesia, 4072 18th Street (415) 252-9325.
You can also find us at:
Bottle Barn, 3331 Industrial, Santa Rosa (707) 528-1161
Unwined, 6946 Almaden Expressway San Jose (408) 323-wine
Draegers Market, 4100 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville (925) 736-2751
We can make arrangements (via phone 707 433-4320) to accept checks for payment.