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EOS EOS 1997 Paso Robles Petite Sirah ($14.99)
I would never buy a wine on the basis of the label alone, but this softly romantic and vaguely New Agey scene of dawn over the vineyards is certainly an eye-catcher on the retail shelf. EOS, a fairly new Paso Robles (Central California) winery named after the ancient Greek goddess of dawn, has done a decent job with this Petite Sirah, a variety that's not always among my favorites. Inky blackish-purple in color, its aromas focus on ripe, plummy fruit and oaky vanillins, blueberries and spice. It's woody to be sure, but I keep going back to it as I discover really abundant fruit. Full black-fruit flavor, berries and plums, with lemon-squirt acidity and firm tannins. It's a real mouth full of wine, a bit monolithic, but seems to have the ingredients - as some good Petites do - to reward extended cellar time. (July 18, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Testing Petite Sirah's affinity for rustic, spicy fare, I paired it successfully with a fairly fiery chicken-okra gumbo and rice.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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