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2012 Petite Sirah
Tasting Notes

2012 Petite Sirah

“Why is it called Petite Sirah when it’s such a BIG wine?” The “petite” refers to the size of the berries, which are small with a high skin-to-juice ratio.  This gives the wine its dark, inky pigmentation and high tannin levels.  “Are Petite Sirah and Syrah related?”  No.  Not at all.  Entirely different varieties.  “Tell me something else I don’t know about Petite Sirah…”  It is also known as Durif and was named after a French botanist in 1880.  Oh and one more thing: we heart Petite Sirah because it is ridiculously delectable in the most dramatic, honest, teeth-staining way.  It dances along the edge of muscular vs. elegant in a way that no other varietal does.  It is, in a word, awesome.  Our 2012 is inky and opaque in color and equally as brooding on the nose and palate.  Aromas of black currant, blackberry, and pomegranate mingle with a hint of spice and dark chocolate.  The Petite Sirah is a powerful, alluring wine with a strong lingering finish. 

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The grapes for our Petite Sirah are grown on our Hames Valley Vineyard. Hames Valley, for some magical reason, is one of the most perfect places on earth to grow top quality Petite Sirah. It is located in southern Monterey County, about 20 miles south of King City, and presents ideal conditions for growing intense, jammy Petites that will bowl you over. The climate of Hames is characterized by a wide day-to-night temperature differential, with a variation of up to 50° quite common. Daytime highs are similar to the Paso Robles growing region but, as the sun goes down, temperatures drop significantly. The long, warm days are a must for top-notch Petite, while the dramatic nighttime cooling helps to preserve the balance of the fruit and maintain acidity. The 2012 growing season was picture-perfect. The spring months were temperate and uneventful, with no significant frost threats and ideal temperatures. Cool nights and overcast mornings followed by breezy afternoons made the summer months perfect for even ripening and good flavor development. Excellent harvest-time conditions allowed us to let the grapes hang until optimal ripeness was achieved.
The grapes were handpicked into half-ton bins, destemmed and crushed into small fermentation bins. The small berries of Petite Sirah create a higher skin-to-juice ratio and higher tannin levels, compared to other red varieties. If mishandled, they can produce overly tannic wines. The flip side is a bold, concentrated wine that continues to age well in the cellar. The name of the game is gentle handling all the way. During fermentation, we gently punched down the cap two to three times per day for approximately two weeks. The juice was then racked clean to small oak barrels for secondary fermentation and aged for 24 months before bottling unfiltered, to retain perfumed aromas and rich tannin structure. The bottled wine was laid down for an additional 14 months prior to release. While wonderful to drink now, our 2012 Petite also has the tannin structure for extended aging.
Hames Valley Vineyard
Harvest Date
September 28, 2012
Harvest Brix
Hames Valley
Alcohol %
24 months in 75% American, 15% Hungarian and 10% French oak barrels
Cases Produced
Bottling Date
January 20, 2015