Sometimes I fall into the habit of being a seasonal wine drinker. I'll relish chilled whites all summer long, and as soon as I feel the faintest fall breeze, I grab on to a hearty red for dear life. To curb this, I've tried finding red wines whose flavors can stand up to my taste buds after a little time in the fridge. My most recent chillable find is the Peltier Station 2011 Hybrid Petite Sirah.
The trick to chilling reds, and whites for that matter, is not overdoing it. If a wine gets too cold, you lose the ability to taste some of the more subtle characteristics. This Petite Sirah was typical of the varietal in its complex flavors, and taking it down a bit from room temperature made it easy to enjoy on a hot day. Strong plum and cherry notes were the first things I tasted, followed by an earthy dryness. Even at more than 14-percent ABV, it went down smooth with a balance I find pleasant in many wines out of Lodi, Calif.
While inspecting some tasting notes online, I discovered that the producer actually incorporates Syrah and Viognier into this wine—the spice of the former and the floral hints of the latter enhancing its drinkability. These grapes play well together, and each sip offered a new facet.
This wine and brand are very earth-friendly. Adhering to the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing, the vineyards used are put through an apparently rigorous certification process, with yearly audits confirming that they meet guidelines for care of land, air, water, soil and employees. My new goal is to die and come back as a pampered Lodi grapevine.
Another plus to a wine like this is its layers, allowing it to stand alone or be paired with a variety of dishes. Don't ask me how I know that it goes equally well with cheap takeout pizza and homemade Chinese food. I'd like to pair it with a pasta dish next time—maybe an arrabbiata sauce to match its spice punch-for-punch.