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. Significant (75%) 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.
Vineyard: 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.
Winemaking: 0.95 ton of Petite Sirah was hand-harvested on August 28th, 2015. 25% of the grapes were destemmed into a single large T-bin, with 75% of the harvest going in whole cluster. Fermentation proceeded under the strength of indigenous yeasts and lasted just a week, though temperatures were moderate, with daily foot-stompings giving way to gentle mixings as the wine went dry. The 2015 was aged in a single 3-year-old puncheon for 30 months before being bottled on March 21st, 2018.