Rating: Definitely drinkable, but lacking a softness that would otherwise make it lovable. Would be worth laying a couple of bottles down for a few years to see if some time softens it.
The rest of the story:
Full disclosure: This wine was received as a press sample.
We like McManis' wines for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that they make great wines which they keep churning out - without jacking up their price tags. In fact, McManis has held almost all their prices steady for the last eight vintages.
This is one name that is an easy one to turn to for low risk, reasonably priced, crowd pleasing wines.
Is that why we inadvertently hold them to a higher standard? Probably. As Clare Boothe Luce said, "No good deed goes unpunished."
The 2008 McManis Petite Sirah is a very drinkable wine. Food or no food, conversation or TV, it's an even-keeled product. Inky and opaque the way Petite Sirah is supposed to be, it's also got that characteristic PS back bone.
This is not a meek wine.
But here's the rub: like a tomato picked before it's really ripe yet, there's a lot of green vegetable in this - reminiscent of many South American wines. Its tannins are a bit on the overbearing side and it's also somewhat lean on flavor. In fairness, those are typical varietal characteristics, but what we really hoped to see is some ripeness of flavor in this wine.
Will it be better after some time? Are this wine's shortcomings a reflection of the tricky vintage? Or is more refinement too much to expect from a $10 bottle?
Maybe, maybe, and maybe.
But are we holding this wine to a higher standard due to McManis enviable track record? Yeah, guilty. (Rating adjusted accordingly.)