I was in need of a gift, and that gift needed to be a decent bottle of wine. It's easy to spend $20 on a pretty label, but I'm the sort who prefers to know what's inside the bottle before I slip it inside a gift bag. And that's how I found myself down at Bacchus Wine Market (647 G St., Downtown) late one afternoon. And when I say “down,” I mean it. Bacchus is appropriately nestled into its building's cellar, like a comfortable, underground, wi-fi- and alcohol-equipped oasis.
Bacchus has a wine flight that's rotated on a weekly basis, and this particular afternoon the six-taste, $15 series was a slugfest between Syrah and Petite Sirah. It was early enough that I had the place to myself, so I took my time to determine which bottle would leave with me. In the end, there were two winners.
I picked up a 2006 Howard's Folly Syrah blend from Portugal to give away and bought a bottle of 2005 Graziano Petite Sirah for myself. That's a big, intense wine, like a muscle car, bold and brash. Of the six pours in the flight's slugfest, it was easily the victor, at least in terms of brute strength. Once I was home, the wine needed a moment to breathe after the cork came out, but it soon settled into the intensity I remembered. There's a powerful taste of berries and chocolate, and if you must pair it, I would do so with a heavy meat or a seriously powerful cheese. Or just drink it by itself. That way, everyone's a winner.