This is our second vintage of Petite Sirah from grapes grown on eighty-year-old, goblet-trained vines carefully tended by Al Tollini in a vineyard that his grandfather planted. Petite Sirah, also named Durif after a botanist from Montpellier, was discovered in France in the late nineteenth century from a spontaneous cross pollination between Syrah and Peloursin. Peloursin, Syrah and Petite Sirah vines are extremely difficult to distinguish in old age, so many of the older California Petite plantings are actually field blends containing Peloursin or Syrah vines. Petite gained in popularity for a while, as it is somewhat resistant to mildew, but its popularity has steadily dwindled due to wine quality issues, most likely connected with the variety's abundance of tannins. We tackled the tannin issue at Navarro the same way we deal with Zinfandel's tannins.
Rolling older barrels into a van. Navarro purchases close to two hundred new barrels each year, which means we have to sell about two hundred older barrels each year.
Ulises stirring red wine in a barrel, keeping solids in suspension and adding a little oxygen, ensuring that both primary and secondary fermentations will complete.
First we cold-soak the must to allow the grape's enzymes to extract flavor and color prior to fermentation, then we punch down the cap rather than pump over to reduce harshness and finally we press the must when alcohol is at twelve percent to avoid bitter seed-tannins. The wine is then aged two years in the barrel followed by another two years in the bottle to mellow. From the age of the vineyard it's likely this wine does include some Peloursin vines. Navarro's panel found this vintage felt more complete with a five-percent addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and a four-percent addition of Syrah. Dark purple with juniper, black pepper, currant and licorice tones. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.