Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hey There, Nice Package

Review: 2007 Seven Artisans Petite Sirah Suisun Valley

Rating: Bottle that could be a centerpiece.  Nice debut effort from a winery - and region - to keep an eye on.  $18


The Rest of The Story: (Full disclosure: This wine was received as a press sample from the winery.)
Fifty points to the first person who can identify the general location of the Suisun Valley AVA...and the winner is...

Yeah, we didn't know either.  Overlooking the city of Napa is Mt George.  And just on the other side of Mt George is the Suisun Valley.  Now you know.  Turns out that growers have been harvesting grapes there since the 1800's.  Today there are a couple of dozen wineries there competing for their share of the limelight - which is tough when your next door neighbor is flashy Napa.  And so you sound like you know more than you do, the pronunciation of Suisun is something like s'SOON.

This wine, one the Artisan Family of Wines' inaugural releases, is our first introduction to Suisun Valley wine.  And it's an eye-catcher.  Packaged handsomely in a substantial black bottle with gold painted lettering, it looks expensive.
Inside the bottle, the wine doesn't wait for you to stick your nose in the glass.  Heady, deep, fresh grape aromatics come at you with a little spice and no heat.  It's not quite black the way a lot of Petite Sirah is, but definitely deep, deep purple.
At the cork's pull, the texture is softer than warm bath water - super smooth.  Structure is definitely there, but tight and closed.  Grit in the tannins and a chalk-dry finish means a time out for this kid in the decanter.  A couple of hours breathing smooths out the gritty acids a bit, but the fruit remains...pretty ordinary? 

Overall, it might not curl your toes, but this is a winery - and region - to keep your eye on.  And priced under $20, we like the value statement these guys are making.


  1. Roger KingApril 19, 2010

    Suisun Valley has supplied a lot of Napa and Sonoma wineries for decades and was a big part of Sabastiani fruit source until 2000. Wooden Valley Winery has 75 year history in Suisun Valley, but within last 10 years a boutique set of players has been added. Petite Sirah is a emerging flagship varietal in Suisun Valley, of which there are another 6+ producers with new releases. For a full understanding of this AVA, which was approved 12-27-82 and the 12th oldest AVA in California (as well as a component of the North Coast AVA) go to

  2. Good stuff...Thanks for the info, Roger!


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