Our Winery Exclusive wines allow us to create small lot offerings each vintage from unique vineyards where we can highlight both the varietal and the terroir of the region. These limited release wines are available only to guests of the winery and our wine club members, and often result in just a few barrels each vintage.
We sourced our Petite Sirah from the Napa Valley, primarily from Jonquil Vineyards in Pope Valley. This vineyard, situated in the northern reaches of the valley just east of Calistoga at an elevation of 800 to 1,000 feet, experiences warm daytime temperatures, ideal for developing the rich, dark fruit flavors of this varietal. At night, the temperatures cool considerably, allowing fi ne balancing acids to develop. The grapes mature slowly, resulting in intricate layers of aromas and flavors.
As its name suggests, Petite Sirah grows in tight clusters of small grapes with intense character. When crafted with care, it can yield dark, decadent and desirable wines. After we hand harvested the fruit, we cold-soaked the grapes to gently extract the signature color and rich flavors that draw us to this varietal. During fermentation, the juice was pumped over the skins several times a day, which allowed thorough extraction of varietal character. We aged the wine for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels, almost 30percent new, to lend structure and hints of spice to the wine.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”