The inky, impressively structured Petite Sirah grape often conjures up images of massive, monolithic wines with more tannin than complexity. However, when given a gentler extraction regime and picked at a level of ripeness that preserves the grape’s natural acidity, the resulting wine can exhibit a perfumed complexity that complements the variety’s full-bodied character. The 2013 shows this beautifully, with floral, orange-peel, and white pepper aromas sharing the spotlight with a black-and-blue fruitiness. As a result of the whole-cluster fermentation, the wine shows a more diverse tannic profile on the palate, amplified nicely with sufficient acidity. Delicious now, I am confident this will continue to develop for at least 5-7 years.
The Leeds family has farmed their ranch in Rutherford since 1926, and the vineyard has a history of being planted to Petite Sirah that dates back to the 1880s. The head-trained West block was planted in 2007 to a classic Napa Valley combination: Hayne clone on St. George. Immaculately maintained by vineyard owner Frank Leeds and his daughter Lauren Pesch, the block is both dry-farmed and certified organic.
1.1 tons of Petite Sirah were hand-harvested on September 4th, 2013. After being separated into two small fermenters, the grapes were foot-stomped. The 2013 is 100% whole-cluster fermented, and all cap management was done either with hand punchdowns or via foot stomping. After a fast, warm fermentation on the strength of its native yeast, the wine was barreled down into one one-year-old barrel and two neutral barrels. This vintage was aged for 18 months with three rackings before being bottled on April 17th, 2015.