Lastly, the Petite Sirah is another wonderful wine coming from the Gallo-owned Monte Rosso Vineyards. The 2013 Petite Sirah Monte Rosso Vineyard is a tiny production of 100% Petite Sirah and realistically priced. This wine offers terrific lead pencil notes intermixed with camphor, asphalt, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. The wine is full-bodied, super-rich and extracted, but has no hard edges, which is somewhat surprising, given its richness. It should drink well for 20-30 years as well. - Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate, Issue #223, March 2016
The unique character of our 2013 Petite Sirah begins with the mountain terroir of our neighbor, the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard, and its famous red soils. This distinctive fruit is characteristic of the mineral-rich, well-drained volcanic soils of Monte Rosso. The site within the vineyard where these Petite Sirah vines are planted is especially blessed; capturing cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay which lengthen the ripening curve and preserve the acidity of the fruit. Conversely, the vineyards high elevation exposes the fruit to intense sunlight, ensuring consistent ripening and highly developed flavors. The vines are planted at an elevation of around 1100 + feet above sea level and with an intensive dry-farming regimen that helps to deeply concentrate the characteristics of the this variety. These vines yielded just enough fruit for us to produce between 50 to 75 cases.
In 2013 we were fortunate to have had such a great harvest on the heels of the excellent 2012 vintage. The growing season could be described as perfect. The weather was as good as one could expect.The growing season began early, with a warm and dry spring, and the weather stayed absolutely beautiful all the way through an early harvest. The quality and quantity of the fruit were exceptional. Harvest took place on September 27, 2013.
The nose opens with intense blueberry fruit character, underscored by just a hint of camphor notes. Stay with the glass for a moment and you will uncover mixed notes of blackberry liqueur, licorice, and incense as well. On the palate this wine quickly leads to the dense berry characters hinted at by the nose. You may also notice an inkling of spice and pepper, all set against a backdrop of the acidity and tannin that are so characteristic of this variety. This wine is an excellent example of what this grape can become; the tannins are big, yet they are also round, firm, and elegantly smooth. The acidity is intense, yet carefully balances the wines body and depth of flavor. It begs to be aged, yet you may drink it now or hold for 10-plus years.
Petite Sirah of this style is a uniquely Californian tradition. As grape varieties go, it is actually a relatively new one. Developed by a French botanist by the name of Dr. Francois Durif (Petite Sirah is occasionally known as Durif, after its’ progenitor) in the 1880’s, it is the offspring of two Rhone varieties; Peloursin and Syrah.
March 4th, 2016
USA, Northern California: Part III - Focusing Primarily on Sonoma
2013 Petite Sirah, Sonoma Valley, Monte Rosso Vineyard