2013 Aratas “FHB Reserve” Petite Sirah




The vintage was exceptional. Conditions were such that we produced our first reserve wine from the famed “Shake Ridge Ranch” vineyard. The “FHB Reserve Petite Sirah”. Continue to read more.

About the “FHB Reserve” Petite Sirah

John and Mickey came from a family of four kids. Mom was a nurse and Dad a well-known surgeon in private practice but also the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation house physician. They entertained dignitaries and special guests often and Doris did the cooking herself. Often times, if she was worried the food might run out she would look down the table to the kids and whisper “FHB”… family, hold back. Of course, that only made the last bite on the plate more desirable to the hungry young brothers. Today, the FHB Reserve, just one barrel produced, represents our best wine of the vintage.

Planted at this elevation, the vineyard experiences as much as a 50-degree diurnal temperature swing. When temps drop precipitously fast, the shift intensifies the sugars in the fruit and drives the acid upward as soon as the sun sets. The pulp of the berries is dense and concentrated. Unforgiving volcanic and granitic terrain is sprinkled with quartz and has dramatic slope. Ranging 10-28% the slope sheds rain fall therefore roots must dive deep to capture what they can. As a result, each tiny berry produced hangs rich and full flavored.

The entire ranch is farmed in a sustainable manner. Ann has developed a fertilization program in tandem with the UC Davis fermentation sciences department that includes fish emulsion, chicken feathers and other stinky but healthy things. She carefully selects organic compost and uses it sparingly to support natural growth. Cover crops are encouraged for erosion control and soil nutrition. Methods are used to manage attacking pests with their natural predators.

Vineyard management is extremely laborious as Grower Ann Kramer’s protocol requires each row be scrutinized vine by vine then pruned just at the precipice of bud break in mid to late March to protect in case of an early frost. The small berry Petite is oriented NE – SW to safely protect against burn yet maximizes exposure to ripening rays. Two lots of Petite are planted at varying elevations to take advantage of swells and crowns for temperature moderation. Before veraison, the team feeds the vines organic nutrients. Lagging clusters are thinned to give those remaining an additional energy boost needed to come to terms with the task at hand thus resulting in even ripening.

The exceptional vintage reflects a glorious year of consistent temperatures and methodical vineyard practices matched by diligent wine making methods. Our 2013 “FHB Shake Ridge Ranch” Petite Sirah harvest commenced in the wee hours of October 10th. Harvest on SRR is performed only at night to ensure the fruit arrives at the crush pad just moments after sunrise.

100% Petite Sirah Root stock 101-14 / Clone PFS3 / Lots G & B-Lower, Hand harvest, Selectiv’ Vision Optical Sort, 5 day cold soak, aged 27 mos in 100% New Hungarian Oak, bottled unfiltered and unfined on native yeasts. Harvest date Oct 10, 2013   14.9% Alc./Vol.

Winemaker, Matt Sunseri / Grower, Ann Kraemer


94 Points,  “Double Gold”,  “Best in Show”   American Fine Wine Competition

93 Points ~ Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Jim Gordon

92 Points ~ Wine Spectator, Tim Fish