Pedroncelli 1997 Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County Petite Sirah ($14.99)
Inky blackish-purple in the glass, typical of this variety; it breathes plummy, grapey aromas and sweet oak, with a hint of brown sugar in a forward, appealing scent. Big and full, mouth-filling black fruit and caramel flavors; a lemon-squirt of acidity and distinct but palatable tannins give it structure. Very interesting wine, more complex than many young Petite Sirahs; it would be well worth putting a few aside to see how they age. US Importer: (Dec 1, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: I turn again to Fred Plotkin's "La Terra Fortunata," full of recipes and lore of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, for a hearty lamb stew with onions that makes a fine match for this robust red.

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