Wine Whore Review:

Christopher Creek Russian River Valley Estate Reserve Petite Sirah 2006 (click for more info)
Taste Score = 8.5/10 Points
Enjoyability Score = 9/10 Points
Overall Score = 8.25/10 Points (Additional stats below)

There is a region in the United States that every wine lover should instantly recognize. It is a region rich for viticulture in California. The region and source of today's wine time enjoyment: The Russian River Valley.

Named after the Russians who were the first non-natives to settle in Sonoma County, the Russian River Valley was originally a place for hunting sea otters for their furs and providing food and staples for Russian colonies in Alaska. The Valley evolved as settlers from wine-producing European countries developed the region. In 1876 the Russian River Valley produced in excess of 500,000 gallons of wine, with about 7,000 vine acres planted. Although prohibition slowed production, the region was brought back to life in the 1960�s when Bob Sisson, the University of California Farm Advisor for Sonoma County, began urging local growers to turn their focus toward cool climate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Climate and soil also make the Russian River Valley unique. Heat during the day combined with nocturnal influence of the cooling fog gives birth to amazing grapes which manage to sustain their natural acidity over a longer growing season. Goldridge loam soil, created by tectonic plates uplifting eroded ancient bedrock combined with volcanic ash, eroded volcanic material and large amounts of clay and alluvial materials form the deposits of the soil that create harsh yet perfect conditions for growing grapes.

So what does this region mean to a bottle of wine?

Let's get down to drinkin'!

(Continue browsing below for the full review and scores�)

Wine Geek Vintage Info:
"Our Estate Grown Petite Sirah grapes received, as always, very special care during the 2006 growing season. We are fortunate to have several blocks of Petite Sirah each with varying age, elevation and sun exposure. We hand-thinned the crop and did extensive deleafing to expose the fruit which maximizes pigment in the berry�s skin. All this work paid off and allowed us to get concentrated and healthy fruit. The favorable growing season coupled with sun-exposed fruit helped develop rich tannins and let the complex flavors of cassis, blackberry, coffee and spice fully develop. As with past vintages, the wine should age well over the next 8-to-10 years. So that the tannins will soften and the fruit will shine, we recommend holding this wine until mid-2007 before drinking. Should you want to drink the wine earlier, we suggest decanting a half hour before serving." � Christopher Creek

Recommended Food Pairing:
"Petite can be enjoyed with many foods and can make a meal more memorable. Our suggestions for pairing are: Ahi tuna, game birds (especially duck, goose and quail), turkey, venison, lamb, pork and beef. If you are preparing gravy, try adding a tablespoon of wine to each cup of gravy to integrate the food with the wine (be sure to warm the gravy to cook off the alcohol)."

Producer: Christopher Creek
Vintage: 2006
Varietal: Estate Reserve Petite Sirah
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Residual Sugar: N/A
pH: 3.71
Production: 630 cases produced
Alcohol %: 14.9
Aging: Aged in French and American oak barrels
Cost: $32/bottle (Get your own bottle!)

Wine Whore Score:

Let's take a closer look...

To the eye:
Deep inky purple stained with a brilliant red hue.

To the nose:
Sweet floral bouquet floods the nostrils with blackberry, plum, and a spicy grip.

On the tongue:
Soft delicate acidity playfully dances across the palate with beautiful form and structure.

Get yourself a bottle and experience this Russian River Valley Petite Sirah firsthand!


Interested in tasting this wine?
Click here to get your own bottle!

Also, very special thank you to Pam, Fred, and Randy from Christopher Creek Winery for their kindness, support, and willingness to share a glass of their wine for the rest of the world to enjoy.

(Read more wine reviews and info at The Wine Whore)
Photo of courtesy of Christopher Creek Winery

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Joeshico said...

I am finding that RRV wines are my fave from CA.
Soon I'll be doing a California wine buy and I'm sure 9 of 12 will be RRV and I hope Christopher Creek is one of them.

The Wine Whore said...

It's definitely a worthy region! :)

I look forward to hearing more about your CA wine buy... I bet you'll have some great selections.


Mark from NJ said...

RRV is a must try if you have not...I make it a point to secure a few bottles of the Williams Selyem pinot from RRV every year..I also like Sharpshooter Chard..a good value place...nice balance....Markfromnj and RobC from the forums is the same case you were wondering...cheers all!!!

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Mark/RobC! :)

I don't think I have tried too many Chards from the RRV but will keep an eye out for your selections! I would have to agree that the balance and quality for the price is hard to beat!


WineLife365 said...

You�ve got me licking my chops right now. The ahi tuna pic looks delicious and the Christopher Creek Reserve Petite Sirah sounds pretty awesome! I�m a huge fan of RRV Zin and Pinot Noir, but can�t say that I�ve ever tried a RRV Petite Sirah. Thanks for the post and for simultaneously making me hungry and thirsty!


The Wine Whore said...

Hello Mark,

I know exactly what you mean... I found myself drooling even at the thought of the ahi tuna! :)

This was a new RRV varietal for me too but it offered a very nice introduction into what RRV Petite Sirah has to offer.

Thank you for the kind words... I am very glad to hear you enjoyed the review!


Joeshico said...

I know you tried one RRV Chard. Clos Du Bois Calcaire is RRV and you know what I think of that one.

The Wine Whore said...

Joe, how could have I forgotten the Calcaire! Thank you for reminding me. Ok, jury is now out. RRV just has some awesome wine values for many different varietals.


Alleigh said...

PS is definitely a wine that I don't drink enough of. Sounds like this would be a good one to check out. Great review!

The Wine Whore said...

This is a good one to try if you have never had one before... I think you won't be disappointed!


Anonymous said...

Visiting the Russian River Valley is unlike anything I've ever experienced. We'd awake to think foggy cold summer mornings and then the fog would burn off only to reveal the most gorgeous HOT summer day. I am convinced this typical summer weather pattern is why they're growing and producing some of the very best wine on ths planet.

I can't wait to return. In the meantime, away I go to my chilled converted closet for a bit of reprieve.

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