100% Petite Sirah
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
91 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
Dark, opaque in color, peppery blackberry fruit on the nose. Black olive, chapparal and licorice on the palate, layered fruit, chalky tannins and notes of mint and tobacco on the finish. JO (7/19)
Petite Sirah is a grape of deep color and plentiful tannin. A small crop in 2015 on Spring Mountain further intensified these qualities. Harvested in two days in mid-September, early for York Creek, half of the grapes were crushed to tanks fitted with grids for submerged cap fermentation to moderate tannin extraction. After fourteen months of barrel age, this concentrated full bodied wine is enjoyable now and will improve with another ten 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′ elevation, 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.
Rainfall: 18 inches (below average)
Bloom: Mid May
Weather: Very dry and cold December, dry January; most of the rain fell in February, March and April. Cool spring followed by an early, warm summer.
Harvest Dates: 13 & 14 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.7˚
Fermentation: Whole berry, pumped over a floating cap once daily, pressed at six days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 20% one year-old, 50% four years-old, and 15% five years-old)
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
Sustainably farmed, hand-harvested, grapes; destemmed and partially crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush; 99 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.
Vinous Media: 92 Points “From the well-known site on Spring Mountain, the 2015 Petite Sirah York Creek shows a much more earthy, powerful and savory side of Petite. Scorched earth, smoke, tobacco, licorice, menthol and dried herbs, along with huge tannins, are some of the signatures. This bold, virile Petite packs a real punch, with plenty of structure coming from the volcanic, mountain soils.” – Antonio Galloni (August 2017)
The Wine Advocate: 91 Points “Medium to deep ruby-purple color and opens with aromas of garrigue, dust, crushed blueberries, autumn leaves, underbrush and aniseed with touches of dark cherries, bitter chocolate and Earl Grey tea leaves. Full-bodied, it’s rich, dense and bold in the mouth but surprisingly light on its feet, with a finely detailed tannic frame and just enough freshness to carry the long finish.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
Average Rating: 89.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 27
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