Saturday, June 27, 2020

Once & Future Napa Valley Petit Sirah 2017

Once & Future Wine Napa Valley Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah 2017

I found this at Binny's and was intrigued to try it. Only 201 cases were made so its not surprising I had never seen or heard of the label before. Upon further research, they're known for producing Zinfandel. The premium packaging with the heavy bottle with its deep punt was impressive and we love Petite Sirah, a cousin of Sirah/Shiraz, an under represented varietal in Napa Valley, so, I took a chance and bought all six bottles in the store.

This was ideal for casual sipping on the deck with artisan cheeses and fresh hot-house Flavor-Bomb tomatoes.

Winemaker Joel Peterson says, "It's my opinion Napa would be famous for Petite Sirah if it weren't for Cabernet Sauvignon."

According to the Once & Future Website, "Up until the 1960s, Petite Sirah was the most widely planted grape variety in Napa Valley. The few examples show that grown in the right places it does very well producing bright expressive full bodied wines that can be even darker and spicier than Zinfandel, that other “California grape” from Europe. Those that produce the varietal offer a distinctive and interesting choice (not to mention, often with better QPR - quality price ratio) over the leading Napa grape varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon.'

One site ideally suited to Petite Sirah is the narrow riparian canyon just east of the town of Calistoga, at the foot of the magnificent Palisades cliffs. There, cobbly loamy soil of the alluvial fan with hot summers, cool westerly morning breezes, extended sunlight and adequate winter rainfall combine to provide the perfect terroir for exceptional concentration and depth.

Viticulture in the area dates back to 1878, when James Horn, a settler from Scotland, first planted grapes. In 1908, Italian immigrants Domenico and Gilda Barberis, planted more vines along Horn’s Creek. Seven years later, they established “Bonded Winery Number 118” on the site. Despite expanding capacity to more than 20,000 gallons, the winery didn’t survive Prohibition, closing down in 1932. The vineyard survived. however and they continued farming it until 1992. Domenico and Gilda’s son Frank planted Petite Sirah on St. George rootstock in 1968 through the mid-70s.

In the 90s the property was bought by Anne Carver and Denis Sutro who farmed the property, preserved the Petite Sirah, and, as importantly, preserved the Palisades by putting the 500 acres directly below the massif into a land trust.

In 2015 Felicia Woytak and her husband Steven Rasmussen, retained Jim Munk to take over, continuing the place’s traditional of dry farming and head-trained viticulture. Today they source the fruit for this Petite Sirah from those Palisades Vineyard dry-farmed, head-pruned, 44-year-old vines planted in bale loam. The winemaker is Joel Peterson.

Once & Future Wine Napa Valley Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah 2017

This label was awarded 92+ Points by Erin Brooks of The Wine Advocate. The 2018 Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah Napa Valley was awarded 96 pts by Vinous Antonio Galloni. The only Cellartracker reviewer gave it 93 points. 

This was aged in 100% French Oak, 30% new barrels.

This was opaque dark inky purple-black in color. Initially it was closed and tight but opened up after 30 to 45 minutes to full-bodied, firm, tightly wound black and blue fruits, floral notes with cassis, black tea, vanilla, with hints of black pepper and oak with a long gripping tannins on a moderate but lingering finish.

RM 91 points.