We were introduced to Rosewood Vineyards in 1994. What attracted us were the gnarled gobelet trained vines planted in 1933. We hang around grapevines a lot and it's not hard to anthropomorphize their qualities. Old vines have a distinct personality that expresses itself in increasingly certain terms year after year. Old vines aren't as vigorous as teenagers, they don't produce as much fruit and they take longer to ripen it. The Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre vines at Rosewood are now in their mid-seventies so one can easily imagine how they struggle to ripen their crop. In difficult years the combination of old vines growing in a cool microclimate results in under ripe fruit; the wines are sometimes blended or declassified.
The Petite and Mourvèdre vines were interplanted as a field blend in 1933. Since the two varieties ripen at different times, Troy and Tia accommodate Navarro's winemaker by harvesting the vines as two separate varieties.
Rosewood Vineyards. Mourvèdre's aromas are sometimes described as being gamey but they remind us more of tree-bark or forest floor. On the palate it reminds us of blackberries and dried red cherries; soft tannins support a wine that is solid but not heavy. The Petite Sirah is amazingly full, especially given the modest alcohol. The aromas and flavors suggest anise, pepper, briar, toasty oak with hints of boysenberry; firm tannins foretell a long life.
But in the vintages where the fruit gets fully ripe the wines are truly unique and are bottled as is. The 2005 Mourvèdre was bin fermented to keep the tannins soft and then aged 10 months in French oak barrels. In the last four years this is the only vintage that was ripe enough to bottle as a separate varietal wine and at that only 171 cases were produced. The Petite Sirah vines performed like old champions in the warm and small-berried 2004 harvest. It too was bin fermented then aged 22 months in French oak barrels. Gold Medal winner.