94% Petite Sirah, 6% Zinfandel
Dark purple in color, briary fruit on the nose with pepper and floral notes. Abundant blackberry fruit on the palate, well-coated tannins, long finish with mint and licorice.
For forty years, Ridge has produced a petite sirah from this Napa hillside vineyard. Today, the wine comes primarily from the oldest vines on Dynamite Hill. A cool spring delayed the growing season, but warm weather throughout August and September ripened the grapes, which were hand-picked in one day. To enhance fruit flavors and balance tannins, they were de-stemmed, but left as whole berries. We pressed after a natural yeast fermentation lasting nine days, and racked the wine to air-dried american oak barrels. In tastings, we chose to include petite sirah from Burger and Sonoma blocks, as well as zinfandel from Track, for elegance. This rich, intense petite sirah has the earthy black fruit and peppery spice typical of the vineyard. It will age well for the next ten to twelve 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: 34 inches (below average)
Weather: Dry winter saved by spring rains and followed by a warm, dry summer.
Harvest dates: 1 October
Grapes: Average Brix – 25.5
Fermentation: 100% Whole berry, floating cap. 100% Natural primary and secondary fermentation. Drained and pressed at 9 days
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (20% new 15% one year old, 25% two and three years old, 40% four years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Hand harvested sustainably grown grapes; destemmed with half the whole berries broken; fermented on the native yeasts; followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush; 175 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 91.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 42
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