The StoryThe Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI)is a $6.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from grapes farmed in the Monterey County AVA inside the Central Coast AVA of California. ALDI virtually never issues any technical information concerning their wines, they tend to skip anything that will add to the price. But they are upping their label game, the Red Cloak can hold its own with any retail wine in that regard.The label shows someone (Little Red Riding Hood?) entering into a dark shadowy forest, it is a scene of mystery and foreboding. After I brought the bottle home it dawned on me why I was attracted to the label. We are all entering a time of uncertainty and foreboding, except we shouldn't be going to grandmother's house. A phone call or Facetime is probably the wiser healthier choice.Petite Sirah was created in France in 1880 by a man named Durif, he crossed Syrah with another grape (Pelsourin). The story I heard is that France in the 1800s had all sorts of problems with disease and insects in the vineyards. The entire vintages would be decimated. The Syrah grape in southeast France was having difficulties so Durif set out to make a Syrah-like grape that was hardy and disease resistant. The only problem was that by the time he came up with Petite Sirah the issues with Syrah cleared up.The grape never caught on in France but did make its way to California and Australia (where it is known as Durif). In California, the secret ingredient in many Red blends and is routinely used in Zinfandel wines. The Red Cloak Petit Sirah 2017 has a decent amount of aging for a $6.99 wine, you figure the grapes were harvested at the end of September 2017 and this is March 2020, so the wine had close to two and a half years to age. There is no mention of oak barrel aging (there is no mention of anything), but Petite Sirah can be tannic and need time to find its flavor balance.When you have no information concerning the making of wine, things such as the length of the aging process tell you a good deal about the wine. If you are making a bottle of wine to sell for 7 bucks you would design the winemaking process to have the wine come together fairly quickly. The sooner it is ready to sell the sooner the winery can recoup its investment. A $6.99 store brand wine may well indicate that the wine in question might have been intended to sell at a higher price. Without knowing more details it hard to know for sure, but guessing is part of the fun with these value-priced wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%.Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) Tasting NotesThe color is Thanksgiving cranberry red. The nose is really good, ripe red berries, a savory note, bacon fat, smoke, spice, dark chocolate, the nose hits above the wines price point. This is a medium to full-bodied wine with plenty of flavors and decent structure. It tastes of ripe raspberry, a dash of black pepper, spice, bitter dark chocolate, and soft, smooth plum. The mid-palate shows dusty tannins with a slightly rough edge (this is a good thing, the body of the wine can handle it), blueberry with a tiny bit of cream, and a late hit of exotic spice. The acidity is fine, this is a sipping wine, yes it will pair with pizza and burgers and do well. But this is more of a Netflix wine, it is tasty enough to exist on its own.The Summary The Red Cloak Petite Sirah 2017 (ALDI) is a well-made tasty wine. It will have you wondering why you don't drink more Petite Sirah. At $6.99 you can't go wrong.
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