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I happened to pop into Pillsbury Wine Company the other day, since I noticed that while I really enjoy their wines, I don’t seem to review them very much. To be fair, that’s largely because my friend and I downed the entire bottle of the new One Night Stand in about an hour before realizing that we didn’t take any notes (oops). It just happened that Sam Pillsbury himself was in the tasting room at the time, and said, “You need to try this, it’s amazing! It’s our new Shiraz!”

I couldn’t say no, because, well, it’s Shiraz/Syrah. You all know me by now, and know I really do love that grape… So: here’s the 2013 Private Reserve Shiraz.

2013 Private Reserve Shiraz from Pillsbury Wine Company

2013 Private Reserve Shiraz from Pillsbury Wine Company

The Wine:  One of the things that caught my ear when Sam told me I needed to try this wine was when he told me that, “We left this wine on the skins for 54 days.  It’s almost like it’s aged in new French oak.”  I had never heard of that length of masceration, but… it worked really, really well for this wine. D21 Yeast was used to make this wine, and it was made from 100% Estate Fruit.  The clone which was used for this wine was Clone 6, and it was grown on it’s own roots.  The wine did sit in neutral oak barrels for a while also.  This wine was made at Aridus by Rob Hammelman.

The Nose: The nose of this wine is pretty broody and dark… and quite complex. The wine opens with rich notes of cherry, blackberry cloves and cinnamon, intermingling with earthy sage and latakia pipe tobacco. As the wine opens, notes of cedar, nutmeg, and monsoon petrichor emerge from the glass.

Palate: The palate of this wine is big, with a big velvety mouthfeel, and it does make one think of something aged in new oak. Big bright cherry, boysenberry, and chokecherry notes explode on the palate, intermingling with spicy latakia and clove notes. As the wine opens, sage, tarragon, and a little bit of cherry jolly rancher emerge as well.  There’s a lot of tannins here also, which is absolutely delightful. The finish of the wine is long, lasting for about 40 seconds, and is filled with rich latakia and cherry.

Pairing: My first instinct is that this is a Shiraz strong enough and powerful enough to pair with a steak, but I’d like to pair this with something slightly more savory, like Elk or possibly Pronghorn antelope.  For a vegan or vegetarian pairing, I’d go with some smoked eggplant with a sage and olive oil glaze and either cheddar cheese or it’s daiya equivalent.

Impression: This wine is sexy as all hell.  Like most other Arizona Syrahs or Shirazes (what IS the plural of Shiraz, anyway?), it is a pinup model, but she’s got a hard, dark edge.  Lots of tattoos, fond of red dresses, and she is laying this time on a throne that seemingly is carved of ivory.  She is reading the Journals of Søren Kierkegaard as she smokes a carved meershaum pipe with grape leaves filled with a rich Cypriot Latakia-based tobacco.  Her red dress is slightly disheveled as she slowly turns the pages. You don’t want to disturb her. She has a scar on her arm that is partly covered by a tattoo of grapevines. You don’t know where it’s from, but you suspect she may be skilled in knife-fighting.

I strongly recommend decanting this wine before drinking, and it’s a Shiraz that could easily age for 10 years or more. Sam says he’s thinking of selling this bottle for about $72, and it would be well worth the price point in my opinion.

Bonus shot of Sam Pillsbury and myself!

Bonus shot of Sam Pillsbury and myself!