My first selection for these troubled times is the second most popular wine reviewed here by pageviews, the Petite Sirah by Crane Lake. This label is made by Bronco Wine Company who also produce the Charles Shaw brand for Trader Joe’s. Crane Lake is offered to independent retailers and typically sells for a couple dollars more than the more famous “2-buck Chuck.” Another difference is that more than just the typical varieties are offered, including this Petite Sirah and even a Sangiovese.
Petite Sirah is a good variety to look for in value wines these days as it flies a bit below the radar of most consumers. Many of the best examples can be found for less than $20 a bottle but I was interested in what you could get for $4. I picked up the 2004 vintage a while back but did not review it was a bad bottle, but I was able to track down the 2005 vintage for this tasting.
Crane Lake, Petite Sirah 2005 ($4) – Dark purple-black color with aromas of blueberry compote and white pepper. Simple and juicy blueberry and plum flavors with some black pepper finishing with plush tannins and good acidity. Clean and surprisingly varietally correct.
Composite cork closure
I’ll have to look for their PS around here. Drew & I find their Cab to be remarkably good for the price, and I am not ashamed to admit it 🙂 I remember liking their Chard, too.
Petite Sirah is indeed a great place to find value. I’ll have to keep my eye out for this one as well.
One of my favorite wines ever is the Rosenblum Heritage Clone San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah which runs about $15 and is certainly top notch.
As for affordable, the best one I’ve had at Trader Joe’s as of late was the Chalk Creek Petite Sirah ($5) but think that is long gone by now…
Thanks for the post, I was unfamiliar with Crane Lake, but for its price it makes sense it is produced by the makers of Charles Shaw brand.
We really enjoy the Crane Lake Petit Sirah. Our 2005 vintage cost us $3.75 a bottle….not $2 like Chuck but certainly a great value. Crane Lake also has a Chardonnay that’s pretty good.
this is really surprisingly good
i was shocked to enjoy this wine too. it's pretty smooth and fruity on the nose. for 4 bucks it was a steal. going to buy more when i get the chance.
Sweet wine – not very good alone, could be paired with sharp cheese