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. Partial (25%) inclusion of whole clusters emphasizes the citrus peel and violet-floral aromas that I love about this heritage variety, with red-and-blue summer fruits giving a sense of rich generosity to the wine. Petite Sirah is always going to be big, inky wine, but it's rewarding to explore the subtle side to this wonderful grape.
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.
0.91 tons of Petite Sirah were hand-harvested on August 30th, 2014. 75% of the grapes were destemmed into a single large Tbin, with 25% of the harvest going in whole cluster. Fermentation began with native yeast, but was supplemented with an inoculation a few days in, lasting for two weeks before the wine was barreled down into a 2-year-old puncheon. This vintage was aged for 20 months with two rackings before being bottled on April 19th, 2016.