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.
Intensely inky and richly colored, the wine has inviting aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and boysenberry, accented with caramel and oak spice. Ripe and round, with silky tannins and a pleasing, approachable mouthfeel. A lingering, lasting and quite memorable finish sets the wine apart as something very special and uniquely pleasing. Wonderful to pair with roasted meats, pastas with rich sauces and bold cheeses.
The relatively even 2016 growing season followed welcome winter rains that eased California’s ongoing drought and gave vines plenty of moisture to pull from throughout the season. With no frost during bloom nor heat spikes during the summer, harvest was received with relative ease. The ripening season enjoyed cooler than average daytime highs with plenty of sunshine so fruit had lengthy hangtime and developed very good color and flavor concentration. The region’s typical area cold nights enabled the fruit to maintain excellent acidity.
The Petite Sirah fruit for this wine comes from the BV Ranch #12 and Godward vineyards in Calistoga, situated at the very northern tip of the Napa Valley. The area experiences strong diurnal temperature swings, with very hot days and nights cooled by fog from the Russian River Valley that funnels through the Chalk Hill gap. The BV Ranch #12 vineyard, with its warm mesoclimate and lean, well-drained soils, produces dark, deeply flavored fruit with exotic floral and spice characteristics. The Godward vineyard is one of the last vineyards on Highway 29 in the Calistoga AVA before moving into Knight’s Valley. The expressive fruit brings ripe tannins and intense color.
The Petite Sirah grapes were hand harvested in the cool of early morning. At the winery, the fruit was gently destemmed and lightly crushed. Fermentation in stainless steel with two weeks of skin contact imparted deep, beautiful color concentration and fruit character. The wine was aged in a mix of French American and Hungarian oak barrels for 17 months, providing an array of oak spices imparted by the characteristics of each barrel’s flavor profile.
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.”