Rhone varietals thrive on the site of bonded winery #118, one of the earliest in Napa Valley.
In its own valley, there is a vineyard east of Calistoga with a whole lot of history going back to pre-prohibition. Rumors of moonshining during prohibition are in the record books, and the surviving old vines of Petite Sirah are infamous. Palisades Vineyard (formerly Carver Sutro) lies in its very own valley, completely isolated from the rest of Napa Valley. The grapes obviously like it there or they wouldn’t have survived as long as they have. The new owners are fanatical (in all the right ways) about the farming of this historic site.
“I may be crazy for farming this way, but I did not want to just do what everyone else is doing. This unique property doesn’t speak to that.”
—Proprietor, Felicia Woytak
The 2018 petite Sirah immediately shows loads of creosote, dark dark black cherries and black raspberry reduction. The palate shows the slightly lifted acidity and structure typical of the 2018 vintage and an amazingly long finish. If this is opened in the next year or so it shows best after 30 min or so of air though you can’t really give it too much air.
The 2018 petite Sirah shows itself to be a different level of a beast just based on the intensely black color that it presents in the glass. This also shows the classic Petite Sirah profile of loads of black fruits, smoked meats and dark spices. Despite its size this one is actually a little bit more approachable right now than the 17. Though still a 25+ year wine, a pop and pour on this works very well.
2018 was a very long and overall cool vintage which aided its longevity and hang time. The grape set was under ideal conditions in the Spring, and the clusters on average were larger than normal, full, and picture perfect. Hollywood clusters, show offs; a beautiful and large set. We thinned (dropped fruit) more radically than we did in 2017 and 2016. Still, by harvest it was on average a good 10-15% more than we had initially anticipated. Long, long hang time, picture perfect clusters, no real heat spikes, and an even and long picking season.