The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Billy Gibbons & Eos Petite Syrah

I’m in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire as I write this, attending a science conference and missed my usual Sunday nite kickoff to the week. So, gotta kick it into high gear going from zero to 60 in under three seconds, and what better guitarist to do it than Mr. Billy Gibbons and that lil ole band from Texas, ZZ Top. Although the band went through a period where commercialism almost killed them, Gibbons, consummate blues and boogie guitarist that he is, brought them back to their roots. He’s known for playing a Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird guitar (“Billy Bo”) and a signature 1959 sunburst Les Paul named “Pearly Gates.” He’s the composer of many of their songs, most of which call for cranking the volume and shuffling around the room. At least, that’s about the extent of my dancing abilities. If you’re so moved, feel free to join me. Kick out the jams, brothers & sisters, tomorrow is hump day so the weekend can’t be far behind!

Sharp Dressed Man:


With Brooks & Dunn; Gimme All Your Lovin:

La Grange:

Jailhouse Rock:

Stop Breaking Down Blues:

Poke Chop Sandwich:

Blue Jean Blues: 

Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings:

What’s up with that:

Tube Snake Boogie:

Future Blues:

With Buddy Guy:

With Jeff Beck:

With the Allman Brothers:

Blues Lesson:

Tush with Brooks & Dunn:

I need a bold wine with Billy, so I’m pairing him with a 2006 Eos Estate Petite Syrah. Petite Syrah was originally cultivated and labeled as such only in California. For a long time, its origins were unknown, but with the emergence of molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing, evidence from research led by Dr. Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis has confirmed most plantings to be the Durif grape.

Most of today’s plantings of Petite Sirah were made before the 1960s. Field-blending was the norm during that time, with many varieties often interplanted. As a result, few Petite Sirah vineyards are "pure." Vineyard blocks are often intermingled with vines of Alicante Bouschet, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre, Peloursin, or Zinfandel. So the wines from these vineyards labeled "Petite Sirah," at least to some degree, are blends.

Petite Sirah has always been an important blending grape, prized primarily for its deep color and intense tannin. It is most often chosen to blend into zinfandel for added complexity, body, and to tone down the tendency of zins toward "jammy" fruit.

On its own, the appeal of Petite Sirahs are usually high in pigment and tannin. Young wines may show dark berry fruit characteristics augmented with black pepper spice. While perhaps not highly distinctive, I find them delicious, and tonight’s selection is no exception.

The Eos opens with raspberry, plum, blueberry, and spice. It’s dark purple in color with cherry, black currents, and blackberry flavors and a silky feel in the mouth. It has a fair amount of complexity and a long finish that makes you want more. Very well balanced, and at $18.00 it’s a good deal. So, boogie to the blues of ZZ top and be careful with the Eos as you dance around the room.


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