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100% Petite Sirah
A long winter brought abundant rain to the York Creek Vineyard on Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain. Bloom was complete by early June; the vines set a good crop. July was unusually warm, but cold weather delayed harvest until mid-October. Whole berries fermented in several small tanks, native yeasts transformed them into wine. At first, we circulated juice through the berries twice daily, but cut back as tannins developed; we pressed on day seven. Natural malolactic finished in early November. The wine was then racked to american oak barrels, (a quarter new, three-quarters two years old), for a total of twenty-four months. The oak has integrated beautifully, allowing berry and rich mineral earth to dominate aroma and taste. This structured, full-bodied petite sirah will begin to soften over the next five years, and continue to develop over the next ten to fifteen years.
In 1968, Fritz Maytag purchased the Herbert Hummel ranch on Spring Mountain, west of St. Helena in Napa Valley. This beautiful property rises from 1250′ to over 2000′, and its climate is cooler than that of the valley below. Most of the land is forested and wild—the watershed of its namesake, York Creek. There are several petite sirah blocks on the ranch. Planted in the early years of the last century, the Devil’s Hill vines are the oldest. In 1971, Ridge used their fruit to make its first York Creek Petite Sirah. The story of how this came about starts in 1967, when Fritz and Paul Draper—friends, at Stanford—set up a winery in Chile’s coast range. When Paul returned to California, joining Ridge as winemaker in August of 1969 it made sense for Fritz to send Paul these amazing grapes. By 1980 Ridge was also taking the grapes from Dynamite Hill planted in 1973 with old Devil’s Hill cuttings. Dynamite Hill, now thirty-six years old, dominates our York Creek Petite Sirah bottlings.
Rainfall: 55 inches (above normal)
Weather: Wet winter and spring. Warm, dry summer was followed by a cool autumn delaying harvest until mid-October.
Harvest dates: 12 & 14 October
Grapes: Average Brix: 24.5
Fermentation: 100% Whole berry, floating cap. 100% Natural primary and secondary fermentation. Drained and pressed at 7 days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (25% new and 75% two years old).
Aging: Twenty-four months in barrel
Average Rating: 90.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 81
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