Our Winery Exclusive wines allow us to create small lot offerings each vintage from unique vineyards where we can highlight both the varietal and the terroir of the region. These limited release wines are available only to guests of the winery and our wine club members, and often result in just a few barrels each vintage.
Intensely inky and richly colored, the wine has inviting aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and boysenberry, accented with caramel and oak spice. Ripe and round, with silky tannins and a pleasing, approachable mouthfeel. A lingering, lasting and quite memorable finish sets the wine apart as something very special and uniquely pleasing. Wonderful to pair with roasted meats, pastas with rich sauces and bold cheeses.
Early season rains brought yields back to normal levels this year, mitigating the extended drought that afflicted most of California. A cool spring resulted in normal timing for bud break, in late March. Temperatures remained fairly cool in May and June, but high temperatures in July triggered an early start to harvest. Quality was solid for the vintage overall.
The Petite Sirah fruit for this wine comes from Ranch #12 and Godward vineyards in Calistoga, situated at the very northern tip of the Napa Valley. The area experiences strong diurnal temperature swings, with very hot days and nights cooled by fog from the Russian River Valley that funnels through the Chalk Hill gap. The Ranch #12 vineyard, with its warm mesoclimate and lean, well-drained soils, produces dark, deeply flavored fruit with exotic floral and spice characteristics. The Godward vineyard is one of the northernmost vineyards on Highway 128 in the Calistoga AVA before moving into Knight’s Valley. The expressive fruit brings ripe tannins and intense color.
The Petite Sirah grapes were hand harvested in the cool of early morning. At the winery, fruit is destemmed and then whole berries move through an optical sorter to select only the highest quality fruit. Fermentation in stainless steel with two weeks of skin contact imparted deep, beautiful color concentration and fruit character. The wine was aged in a mix of French American and Hungarian oak barrels for 17 months, providing an array of oak spices imparted by the characteristics of each barrel’s flavor profile.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Oak Treatment||50% New Oak, French (56%), American (20%), and Hungarian (24%) - 17 Months|
|Blend||100% Petite Sirah|
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