2010 Napa Valley Petite Sirah- Library Wine
This is the 3rd vintage of Aratas Wine, Napa Valley’s producer solely focused on the American Heritage Grape. c.1884.
Pure Petite Sirah grown in the alluvial soils of the Napa Valley. This estate wine is from a 20 year old vineyard planted in the District of Oak Knoll. The cool influence from the fog that lingers in the southern end of the valley provided a diurnal temperature fluctuation of 40 degrees balancing warm sunny days and very cool nights. This wine is still fruit forward in nature, a hallmark of the Petite Sirah grape but you’ll engage the terroir impressions which are an expressive compliment at this point in time.
2010 was a cool vintage which began with a wet winter. Bud break was delayed a couple weeks then a close call with frost thinned the clusters somewhat resulting in lower yields by most standards. A cool spring but moderate summer allowed us additional hang time for phenolic development. Our grower Robert Jordan used precision cluster thinning and well timed leafing twice this year to guide the sun’s rays and create shade to prevent the potential for sunburn. An additional fruit drop after veraison helped bring the clusters in line for a perfectly ripe harvest at the right time. This paid off enormously when the heat spike lasting 3 days came along. The thick skins of Petite Sirah help prevent desiccation and we were able to leave the fruit on the vine a bit longer. The grapes were hand harvested just at the precipice of sunrise on October 21st.
The grapes were excessively sorted for quality then cold soaked for 5 days. Fermented on native yeast in small open bins, the grapes were punched down by hand for careful tannin management then aged for 22 months in 30% new Francois Ferre French and Trust Hungarian Oak barrels.
Personal note from the Vintner: Prior to extending an offer to order this library wine I took the rare opportunity to enjoy a bottle this week. Library wines are so limited that we typically taste them just once a year. John smoked a couple rib racks on the green egg. They started with a dry rub then he glazed them with slightly spicy soy based ranchero sauce and finally slipped in a dolop of fig chutney made from the trees in the grove behind the house. The glaze was slightly sweet, salty and a bit spicy but not fiery. While the wine is completely dry, the rich black fruit was an absolute perfect compliment to the rustic meatiness of the pork and aligned just right so the sweet-spicy sauce came off without a kick. The wine did not taste “hot” on the palate in anyway. With a little wine left, dessert was a must so we shared a leftover slice of flourless torte, one of my favorites. The bittersweet chocolate was divine and a great juxtaposition against the jamminess of the Petite. S.D.
Tasting impressions: Blackberry cobbler, cassis, white pepper, tamari, dried plum, bacon fat, harrissa, black tea and cedar]
100% Petite Sirah
Clone 3 1103P Root stock
Winemakers: Matt Sunseri and Mike Drash
Grower: Robert Jordan Grand Crew Vineyard Mgmt
450 cases produced
91 Pts, Wine Spectator, M.W.
“GOLD” Medal, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition