A 100% Petite Sirah that’s friendly and approachable? Sign me up. When Theodora Lee sent me two vintages of Petite Sirah and a rosé of Petite Sirah, I knew I was in the hands of a PS expert. Until recently I’d been intimidated by the varietal whose very name seems to tease at its reality: There’s nothing petite about the flavors textures, or even aromas of a Petite Sirah. Or so I thought until I’d tried an expression from Theopolis’s neighboring vintner Halcón Vineyards. There’s something special about the tucked away AVA of Yorkville Highlands — and this refined, mature, yet full-of-life expression of Petite Sirah from Theopolis Vineyards just solidifies that fact.

About the Wine: The Theopolis Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah is made from 100% Petite Sirah grapes harvested from the Theopolis Vineyards located in the Yorkville Highlands AVA in Mendocino County, California. The wine was refined and aged in 100% French Oak Barrels (25% new) for 23 months.

Unfiltered

14.8% ABV

About Yorkville Highlands AVA: Tucked into the tiny corner of Mendocino County, California is the petite — but growing — Yorkville Highlands AVA. Here, the mountainous terrain includes vineyards as high as 2,500 feet elevation (like Halcón Vineyards). However most vineyards are planted along mountainside benches, which pockets in the warmth of the daytime sun as well as the cool night air from the Pacific. In fact, the Yorkville Higlands’s is home to some of the coldest nighttime temperatures along the North Coast. This means extended growing seasons, mature tannic structure, and preserved acidity — in other words the perfect combination of complexity and approachability in even one of the most intense varietals, Petite Sirah.

Flavor Profile: Open up the Theopolis Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah and breathe blackberry jam mixed with soil muddied by river water. Breathe in again and sense something deeper…darker…

On the pour this Petite Sirah is a rich velvet maroon and emits immediate aromas of blackberries, oak wood, and hints of burnt coffee and cocoa. I let the wine decant for about an hour before pouring into the glass.

Once in the glass, the wine presents a dark, brooding, impenetrable black-purple hue. Aromas, again, include that blackberry, but add to it black plums and black figs as well. There’s a subtle sense of acidity, so swirl. Swirl and open up the softness of those fruits — as if you can smell how thin the skin is, while the berry beneath is bursting with juices. Take an even deeper breath and find some spices: black pepper, star anise, cedar chips.

The palate of the Theopolis Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah is full with cotton-like tannins, whose presence are consistent from start to finish. The acid, however, is sneaky and subtly increases toward a hint of heat at the finish. Dominant flavors are of (yes) blackberries, black cherries, oak wood, mushroom umami, burnt coffee, and a savory mixture of star anise and clove spice toward the end.

Food Pairing: I paired the Theopolis Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah with a grilled filet mignon served with a salad tossed with fresh blueberries, blue cheese, and a balsamic-based dressing. The best part of this pairing was definitely the filet mignon. The smokey meat played well with the levels of flavors of wine: the juicy rare cook of the filet paralleling the fruit components; the crusty exterior bringing those earthy spices forward. I also enjoyed how the blue cheese smoothed out the textural tannins even further, providing an almost creamy mouthfeel. The blueberries — yes, they highlighted some of those fruit notes in the wine, but they also brought out the earthiness, the kind of woodsy aromas that were a bit latent when tasting the Petite Sirah on its own. Honestly, the meal as a whole really brought a vivacity to this wine and the wine was the perfect companion the meal.

More Info: I received the Theopolis Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah as a sample for review. (Cheers Theodora!) Retail: $38. For more information about Theopolis Vineyards, their wine and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Theopolis Vineyards website.


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