Aromas of wild blackberry, huckleberry and baking spices are followed by hints of vanilla bean, cigar box and rose petal. The tart berry, cocoa, coffee and leather characteristics on the palate lead into black tea and toasted oak notes. This is a medium bodied wine with fine tannins and balancing acid, the finish is long lasting with flavors of blackberry and spice.
The fruit’s ripening was slow to reach maturity, so the fruit was picked late morning to early afternoon at a moderate temperature. After it was taken to the cellar and gently destemmed it was then pumped into a small open top tank and immediately inoculated. Extraction occurred by way of two punch downs and two pump overs per day with the malolactic fermentation inoculated just at the end of primary fermentation. Following fermentation, the must was pressed lightly with the press fraction added back, the wine allowed to settle then racked to barrels.
The barrels were racked quarterly and, in this lot, eventually 20% American oak was used to put the finishing touches on the ample phenolics. Petite Sirah has an inherent heavy structure which is best distributed through the management of the oak phenols and lactones.
The Schoolhouse Vineyard in the famed Dry Creek Valley, has been farmed for generations as a dry farm block of 100% Petite Sirah on traditional rootstock. The block receives late morning sun and somewhat early evening shade, late afternoon coastal breezes allow ripening to occur slowly. Plants are approximately 60 years in age and produce low tonnage with excellent concentration of color, flavors, and maturity.