Judd's Hill - 2004 Old Vine Petite Sirah

Judd's Hill Winery in Napa is the next stop for the 12 Days of Petite Sirah. While the winery itself is located on the Silverado Trail in Napa, the fruit for this particular selection is from Lodi. Art Finklestein, who along with his wife Bunnie founded Judd's Hill, had previously founded, built up and eventually sold Whitehall Lane Winery. So in a sense the history of Judd's Hill goes back even further than the time this particular winery has been in existence. At this point it's become a 2 generation family business with their Judd's HillSon Judd and his wife Holly also part of the team. The focus at Judd's Hill is small lots of premium wines that are handpicked and crafted with a personal touch. The 2004 Judd's Hill Old Vine Petite Sirah was sourced from two specific vineyard sources. 88% of the wine is Petite Sirah from the Cranston Brothers Vineyard in Lodi. The balance is Syrah from Juliana Vineyard in the Pope Valley. The wine spent 20 months in medium toasted French oak. A mere 202 cases of this wine were produced and it's suggested retail price is $30.

When I Poured the 2004 Judd's Hill Petite Sirah into a glass the first thing that become apparent is that this wine is as black as night. Ripe, fleshy blackberry aromas abound in the nose with a little touch of vanilla apparent as well. At first blush the wine shows more than a little bit of tartness. Decanting for at least an hour is recommended.  Once it's had a chance to breathe the Judd's Hill Petite Sirah is rich and full bodied. Berry notes present up front followed by strong mocha characteristics towards the back of the mid-palate and on through the finish. That finish which is above average in length has hints of clove, star anise and a hint of chicory. Throughout the wine a slight touch of sweet fruit is persistent, though it's not nearly as obvious as most of the characteristics which are best described as dark and brooding. A wine this rich and intense deserves an equally rich meal to go along with it. Braised Lamb Shanks would work as would dishes rich in wild, earthy mushrooms.

With only 202 cases, this is the kind of wine to not only enjoy as you drink it, but to cherish the opportunity to have had it. Once it really opened up, soft, gentle tannins were still present but no rough edges at all. This Petite Sirah is drinking well now and should also reward cellaring.

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

Coming Up: 12 Days of Petite Sirah Continues, Over a dozen Petite's to go.

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