Rutherford Grove - 2006 Petite Sirah

The second selection for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah is from Napa Valley's Rutherford Grove. Established in 1993, they have been making excursively Estate sourced wines since the 2003 vintage. The Spring Creek Vineyard that the grapes were sourced from is located in St. Helena. This is in the northern Rutherford Grove Petite Sirahportion of Napa Valley. Aging was split evenly between French and American oak. 50% of it new, 30% on year old and the balance 2 year old.1,000 cases of this Petite Sirah was made. The suggested retail price is $37.

Bib black cherry character underscored by vanilla are the most prominent characteristics on the nose. The first sips reveal a fleshy dry fruit and bring plum and sour cherry to mind. Spiciness and subtle licorice notes come out on the mid-palate and carry on through the finish which also has additional dark fruit notes and a touch of earthiness.

While this wine drinks well now, especially after decanting I don't think it's near it's peak. This is a good choice to lay down for 8 or so years and drink for close to a decade after that. The earthiness that is subtly present now should emerge to the forefront over time.  Petite Sirah's are rightly often described as big, juicy and brooding. Elegant is rarely a word associated them, this one is that as well as subtle and layered. The sour cherry notes that emerge on the front of the palate remind me of the characteristics associated with Chianti. In some ways this wine strikes me that perhaps this is what Petite Sirah would taste like if it was made in Tuscany.

Rutherford Grove has crafted a wine that has many of the benchmark Petite Sirah characteristics, yet also strays from what one might consider a typical expression of this varietal. As I mentioned above I expect this wine to be an exceptionally age worthy example of Petite Sirah. Pick up a couple and forget about them for awhile, you'll be rewarded later.

 Check out PS I love You, the Advocacy Group dedicated to this great varietal.

Up Next: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues, Stay Tuned.

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