94 Points - James Suckling
“Love the aromas of clay, terracotta, blackberries and black licorice. Full-bodied yet compact and linear. Very fine tannins. Fantastic, cool and tight finish. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019
The 2016 Petite Sirah is deep and saturated with a core of blackberry, blueberry and black plum, alongside more savory notes of cocoa powder, black pepper spice and Old Bay seasoning. On the palate, the generous blackberry and peppery plum flavors continue but elements of fresher Bing cherry and creamy cassis notes also come through, as well as delicate anise seed, clove and cedar spice notes from the oak ageing. This wine is smooth and silky with velvety tannins and a generous lengthy finish, encouraging you to enjoy it now, but has the depth and complexity to age for many years to come.
Grapes from the vineyards located on our estate’s deep, rocky soils make up the backbone of this Napa Valley Petite Sirah. Carefully selected fruit from both northern vineyards in Calistoga and St. Helena and southern vineyards in Oakville, Oak Knoll and Coombsville are added to intensify and broaden the wine’s profile to include floral, spice and fruit characteristics. Petite Sirah is a varietal that is enhanced by the deliberate diversity of our vineyard sites.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, right around Labor Day, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended mild season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream vintage, conditions were perfect for producing a Petite Sirah with beautiful fruit as well as tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and layers of complexity.
Continuing the same time-honored techniques that have made Petite Sirah one of our winery’s staples, Winemaker Christophe Paubert practiced simple and traditional methods to show the uniqueness of the Petite Sirah fruit. Avoiding over extraction, the wine went through a relatively short maceration period (9-12 days on average) that included fermentation, and two of these lots were co-fermented with Viognier to reinforce the floral character of the Petite Sirah. The wine aged for 12 months in American oak barrels (25% new), allowing the spiciness of the oak to complement the natural spice character of the varietal. The final blend included small amounts of Grenache, Syrah and other mixed Rhone varietals to bring further complexity to the finished wine.