Following is a list of some of the Israeli wines that can be recommended and are either entirely varietal Petite Sirah or use the grape as at least a 50% blend. Alas, the better Petite Sirah wines of California are not imported.
Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2006: Deep garnet, full-bodied, with ripe and supple tannins. Opens with a mint-like nose, going on to plums, blueberries and huckleberry fruits, all backed up by light hints of spices and grilled meat. Drink from release–2011. Tentative Score 88–90.
Avidan, Petite Sirah, 2005: Blended with a small amount of Shiraz, this deep garnet, full-bodied wine shows firm tannins, those in fine balance with spicy wood and plum, currant and berry fruits. Drink now. Score 87.
Carmel, Regional, Petite Sirah, Old Vines, Judean Hills, 2006: A big wine, full-bodied, deep garnet toward royal-purple, with gripping tannins just starting to settle down but showing fine balance between tannins, wood and fruits. Ripe plum, blackberry and boysenberry notes on a background of minerals, minted chocolate and spicy cedarwood. Drink now–2012. Score 90. K
Carmel, Regional, Petite Sirah, Judean Hills, 2005: Developed in French oak for 12 months, made from grapes from 35-year-old vines, this almost impenetrably dark purple, still-firmly tannic wine opens in the glass to reveal a rich array of dark plum, blueberry, peppery, herbal and spicy cedar notes. Dense enough to be thought of as chewable but opens to show harmony and grace. Drink now–2012. Score 91. K
Carmel, Regional, Petite Sirah, Judean Hills, 2004: Garnet toward royal-purple, medium to full-bodied, with chunky tannins that give the wine an appealing country style. Look for aromas and flavors of wild berries, citrus peel and spring flowers leading to a moderately long leather and tobacco-rich finish. Drink now. Score 89. K
Chillag, Giovane, Petite Sirah, 2006: Deep, dark and rich, full-bodied, with firm country-style tannins and showing beautiful huckleberry, blackberry, and black cherry notes on a background of vanilla, minerals and chocolate-covered cherry notes. Long and generous. Drink from release–2012. Tentative Score 89–91. (Note: Not certain whether this wine will be released)
Chillag, Giovane, Cabernet Sauvignon-Petite Sirah, 2005: A blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Oak-aged for 20 months showing medium to full-bodied and with still-firm near-sweet tannins, those just starting to settle down and opening to reveal generous black fruits, those on a light background that hints nicely of licorice and bitter almonds. Easy to drink but with just enough complexity to grab and hold our interest. Drink now–2010. Score 90.
Recanati, Reserve, Petite Sirah-Shiraz, Special Edition, 2007: A blend this year of 60% Petite Sirah and 40% Shiraz, dark royal-purple in color, medium-bodied, showing soft, well-integrated tannins and just the right note of dusty oak. On the nose and palate blackberries, blueberries and cassis, those matched nicely by notes of chocolate and mocha. Simultaneously “fun” and elegant. Drink now–2011. Score 90. K
Recanati, Reserve, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, 2006: A blend of 88% Petite Sirah and 12% Zinfandel. Youthful royal-purple, with soft mouth-coating tannins integrating nicely and showing smoky and dusty wood. Opens to reveal blackberry, pomegranate, mocha and sage notes. Tannic and firm but elegant. Drink from release–2012. Tentative Score 89–91. K
Recanati, Reserve, Petite Sirah-Zinfandel, 2005: Dark and concentrated, its firm, crisp tannins integrating nicely with vanilla-rich spicy oak. Opens with a burst of chocolate, that yielding to aromas and flavors of blackberry, raspberry and black cherry fruits, those coming together nicely with hints of minerals and an appealing light earthy note. Long and generous. Drink now–2011. Score 90. K
Sea Horse, Munch, 2006: Petite Sirah showing black and concentrated, full-bodied, tannic and with generous wood in fine balance. Now settling down to reveal a tempting range of plum, blackberry, blueberry and currant fruits. Give this one time and it will prove supple, ripe and rich. Drink now–2012. Score 89.
Sea Horse, Munch, 2005: Made entirely from Petite Sirah grapes from a dry-farmed vineyard. Dark, almost inky teeth-staining purple, with firm, brooding tannins waiting to settle down, and full-bodied enough to be thought of as chewy, but with all of that in fine balance with blackberries, currants, ripe plums and hints of citrus peel and tobacco all on a spicy and near-leathery background. Intense rather than elegant, recalls some of the most interesting wines of this variety from California. Drink now–2013. Score 91.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2007: Opens with the traditional rich huckleberry, boysenberry and blackberry notes that we have come to associate with the better wines of this variety. And then kick in minerals, chocolate-covered cherries and firm, somewhat chunky, country-style tannins that rise and linger very nicely on the long finish. Drink from release–2012, perhaps longer. Tentative Score 90–92.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2006: Reflecting its youth with a dark royal-purple color, medium to full-bodied, with fine extraction and with lively notes of spices, white pepper, tobacco and cedarwood supporting generous blackberry and huckleberry fruits. Chewy tannins rise on the finish along with a hint of grilled beef. Best 2010–2014. Score 90.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2005: Made from old-vine grapes and oak-aged for 16 months. Full-bodied, impenetrably dark purple-black, with deep spicy overlays and firm tannins all coming together beautifully. On the nose and palate blackberry and blueberries, those matched nicely by notes of white pepper, tobacco and cedar, and on the long finish enchanting hints of raspberry jam. Drink now–2012. Score 91.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2004: Dark garnet in color, reflecting its 15 months in partly new French oak with fine balance between firm tannins, sweet cedar and spicy oak, all coming together nicely to reveal a broad array of plum, blackberry, meaty and herbal aromas and flavors. Long and complex, with hints of minerals and bittersweet chocolate rising on the finish. Drinking nicely now but best 2009–2011, perhaps longer. Score 91.
Vitkin, Petite Sirah, 2003: Medium to full-bodied, garnet toward royal-purple, with still-generous tannins now integrated nicely with spicy oak. Aged in oak for 14 months, showing aromatic and flavorful, opens in the glass to reveal blackberry, blueberry, purple plum and raisin notes, those supported nicely by notes of white pepper. Ripe, deep and long, with notes of red cherries and the solid tannins rising on the finish. Drink now–2010, perhaps longer. Score 90.
Yiftah’el, Petite Sirah, 2006: Full bodied, with firm tannins in good balance with spicy wood. On first attack licorice, chocolate and tobacco, those followed by red berry and cherry fruits. Generous, mouth-filling and moderately long. Drink now–2010. Score 85.
Yiftah’el, Petite Sirah, Reserve, 2005: Firm, full-bodied and concentrated, almost inky-black in color showing intense tannins and spicy wood, both needing time to integrate, but even now opening to show blackberry, currant and licorice aromas and flavors. Drink now. Score 85.
Zion, Erez, Petite Sirah, 2007: Dark royal-purple, full-bodied, showing just the onset of spicy wood influence and with gripping tannins just starting to settle in. Opens to show black and red berries along with black pepper, anise and hints of Mediterranean herbs. Drink now. Score 84. K