Character without Attitude: 2016 Matchbook Estate-Bottled Petite Sirah

So this French Canadian family moves from Quebec to California’s Central Valley over 150 years ago, in search of better land to farm. Fast forward to the 1970s when two brothers (descendants) come home from college and start a new family farm. They began growing wine grapes there in 1981, in the Dunnigan Hills, where no wine grapes had been grown before. Soon the family is growing grapes, grapes, grapes…and decides to make wine. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of their successes like Toasted Head, EXP and R.H. Phillips?

They go big, they go public, they sell — and then the family gets back to making wine again. Matchbook is one of their newer brands, along with Arsonist, Mossback and Chasing Venus. Why all the fire references? You can look that up on

This wine is the first bottling of the Matchbook estate-grown petite sirah. Earthy aromas with a hint of piquant spice. On the palate, the flavor is dark red fruit with burnt sugar, enhanced with strata of mild tannins and acidity. Easy-going, easy to drink. Character without attitude.

Pair with earthy foods: cheeses, mushrooms, lamb.

90 points – Becky Sue Epstein

WHO: Matchbook Wines

WHAT: 77% petite sirah, 17% syrah, 6% tannat

WHERE: Dunnigan Hills, California

HOW MUCH: $16 (media sample)