Well, I knuckled down today and tasted through fifteen Petite Sirahs that had accumulated here over the past couple of months. I'm not sure why today seemed like an ideal day for big, black, tannic wines, but when the inspiration hits, one must follow it lest one's soul shrivel like a ten day old artichoke. Or something like that.
What I determined from this admittedly random and non-comprehensive sampling is that there's still plenty of Petite out there that winemakers feel an unholy obligation to slap with bargeloads of new oak, evidently as counterforce to the massive, aggressive extraction of color and tannin they also seem dead-set on providing. Weird. I just can't see how one would taste some of these wines in barrel and not think, "Well, Jeez, that's no fun."