Brothers create sinfully delicious wines

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Fun stuff: The 2010 Petite-Petit plays off a circus theme with a picuture of an elephant which pershaps depicts the large expressive nature of the Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot grapes that comprise the blend. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

The Phillips family has been farming near Lodi since the 1860s. Located 80 miles southeast of San Francisco, Lodi is the heart of California’s produce market, which expanded into the more lucrative grape-growing business with farmers selling their bulk grapes to Ernest & Julio Gallo, Mondavi Woodbridge and Constellation brands. The Phillips brothers had a greater vision, with older brother Michael, a fifth-generation Lodi grape grower, deciding to venture into winemaking while bonding his own winery in 1984. His brother David had a background in marketing and business and came on board in 1989. Together they made history with a portfolio of wines that were a pure sensory indulgence.

What is different about Michael and David Phillips is that they embraced wines that were pleasurable and affordable. Initially, they introduced a seven vineyard blend of Zinfandel named 7 Deadly Zins because of their catholic schooling, which inevitably became one of their best-selling wines. Currently there are four tiers of wines, all at different price points including a line of single appellation Zinfandels called Lust, Gluttony, Sloth etc. Although the Phillips brothers don’t take themselves seriously, their followers will discover these wines to be seriously extracted with a fruit-driven style that may be described as hedonistic. Their original fruit stand from the 1970s still exists today and serves as the backdrop to promote their wines in an informal setting.

The 2010 Petite-Petit plays off a circus theme with a picture of an elephant which perhaps depicts the large expressive nature of the Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot grapes that comprise the blend. Black and boisterous with a slight orange peel nose and endless layers of fully ripe mulberry and boysenberry marmalade fruit that persists into a lovely tapered finish. There is a weekend full of enjoyment in this bottle. If you’re adventurous you may also want to indulge in their 2009 Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon.

Suggested Retail: $ 17.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.