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 2014 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 100 + feet above sea level and with an intensive dry-farming regimen that helps to deeply concentrate the characteristics of this variety. These vines yield just enough fruit for us to produce between 50 and 75 cases each year.
The weather during the growing season in 2014 was perfect for wine grapes, largely dry and warm, but not overly hot. We were fortunate to have had such a great harvest on the heels of the excellent 2013 vintage. The weather was as good as one could expect. The growing season began early, with a warm and dry spring, and the weather stayed beautiful all the way through an early harvest. The quality and quantity of the fruit were exceptional. The grapes were hand-picked on September 20, 2014.
The nose on this wine opens with an earthy bramble of berries and plum, swirl the glass and you will uncover a gentle hint of anise, balanced against a subtle minerality that underscores and enhances the fruit.
Take a sip, and you will immediately notice the heady weight of this wine. The body is huge and round, with marvelous tannin and a pleasing acidic bite. The palate holds a surprising note of cinnamon at the front, followed by a deep, dark wave of black fruit that washes through to a lengthy finish, rife with toast and ripe red cherry.
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