I learned only yesterday (Friday, 15 January) that Orna Chillag would be offering a varietal Petite Sirah wine from the 2006 vintage, that to be officially unveiled and put on sale on Friday, 29 January at the winery. Truth be told, I had no idea that this wine was in the works, so I phoned Orna and asked if it might be possible to receive a bottle for tasting before the release date. Her response: "Only if we can have a cup of coffee together".
As is fairly well known, I very rarely refuse invitations to coffee and even more rarely will I refuse invitations from winemakers of the female persuasion. We met this morning at Rehov Basel's Arcaffe (my office away from the office). I bought the first round of coffees and croissants, she bought the second round. All's fair.
Being a man of weakness and impatience, the wine made its way to my tasting room, there to be inserted into a second tasting of the day, this one a "quickie" single blind tasting of six Petite Sirah wines from California and the Chillag wine. My tasting note for the Chillag wine follows.
The unveiling will take place at the winery (Rehov Shabazzi 12, in the Industrial Area of Yahud) from 10:00-16:00. Best bet to make sure a place is available for you to attend the tasting or to place advance orders is to phone 054 4562057. The wine, a limited release of 600 bottles will go for NIS 220 each at the winery. Not "cheap" but in my opinion, well worth the investment.
Chillag, Petite Sirah, 2006: From a vineyard in the Jerusalem Mountains at 750 meters above sea level, Petite Sirah as Petite Sirah should be. Oak-aged for 24 months, almost impenetrably dark garnet in color, dense and concentrated, opening with lavender and peppery notes, those yielding to chocolate and licorice and only then black cherry, blackberry, cassis and plum flavors. In the background look for tobacco and toasty oak and, on the long, chewy finish a note of espresso coffee. Unfiltered, so do not be surprised if you find a bit of sediment here, that doing no harm whatever to this muscular but oh-so-enchanting wine. Best 2011-2016. Score 92. (Tasted 15 Jan 2010)