Rutherford Grove Winery & Vineyards
2006 Spring Creek Vineyard Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah •Spring Creek Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Truly Duriff
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exclusive library raid Petite Sirah from family run Rutherford Grove.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Spring Creek Vineyard Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Andy Pestoni
Petite Sirah’s California roots dates back to when it was believed to be a close relative of the Syrah grape. Later it would be found to be genetically identical to the Durif, named for its after French discoverer François Durif who found that the varietal was a Syrah grape pollinated with Peloursin flowers. Its smaller berries with higher skin to pulp ratio leads to more intense flavors. Another benefit of the smaller berries are tighter clusters that are more resistant to mildew. Currently Petite Sirah is less popular in France and increasingly popular in the United States
The Rutherford AVA is among the most famous names in the valley and is primarily know for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the other big Bordeaux varietals and as in today’s wine Petite Sirah. Ironically, Rutherford was the last of the major districts to receive AVA status and is home to about 30 wineries. Its well drained soil made of a combination of marine sediment and volcanic gravel, sand and loam is distinct and contributes to its famed ‘Rutherford Dust’ component found its its great wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and nearly opaque dark garnet almost black in its heart with garnet edges and when swirled, this wine leaves deeply stained medium thick legs on the side of the glass.
Smell – Bold and redolent with generous black and blue fruit layered over soft notes of earth and peppery spice. Layers of toasted oak, vanilla and smokey herbs adds a pleasant and approachable complexity to the nose.
Feel – Soft, plush and warm, this well structured wine shows that it has aged elegantly. Full bodied and dry, expansive on the palate with balanced acidity and minerality that keeps its integrity through to the finish.
Taste – Juicy blueberry, blackberry and plum leads off on this generous and fruit forward wine that is followed by toasted and smokey notes of oak and herbs that reveal them selves with hints of vanilla. Spice and earth also linger just underneath the ripe fruit.
Finish – Plump and ripe fruit linger on with a clean medium length finish with this wine’s toasted vanilla, earth and spice lasting just a bit longer and invite another large gulp.
Conclusion – The 2006 Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards Spring Creek Vineyard Petite Sirah is soft, rich and plump wine that fruit forward and not at all course like too many Petite Sirah making this a wine that you’ll quickly enjoy in big gulps. A wave of blue and black fruit along with pleasant vanilla toast, smokey spice and herb and minerality greets you upon pulling the cork and lasts until you squeeze the last drop out of the bottle. This is the perfect wine to warm you up on a cold winter afternoon in front of the fire place.
For today’s wine, we were only able to secure an abbreviated interview. Please be sure to check back with us, the next time we showcase another great Rutherford Grove wine.
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
RUTHERFORD GROVE: This is the 2006 vintage of our Petite Sirah that we produce from the Spring Creek Vineyard in St. Helena. We’ve been making 100% Petite Sirah from this fruit for over ten years now, and it is one of our favorite wines that we make. One of the things that we’ve always done differently in our approach to Petite is limiting the extraction time both on the skins and in barrel. This has resulted in a wine that, while still full bodied and luscious, is fruit forward and approachable on its own or paired with the right meal. Another thing that is fun about enjoying a bottle of our Petite Sirah is the layered complexity that continues to evolve over the course of an evening; the last sip is dramatically different than the first while still maintaining its fullness and vitality.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RG: While this Petite Sirah certainly doesn’t require anything to make it shine my favorite pairing is a sheep milk cheese or, for this time of the year, a hearty lamb stew.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the St. Helena so special?
RG: Deep and well drained alluvial soils without much rock or cobble on the famous west side of St. Helena make this vineyard a stand out for Petite Sirah production. This is our only wine from St. Helena and since we also farm the vineyard, we have complete control over all aspects of the winemaking process.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RG: Right now our focus is on moving all of the 2010 vintage of red wine from the tanks into the barrels so they can begin their aging process.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
RG: Thank you, Red. We always love working with you covert Agents!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
90 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine
89 Points – Wine Spectator
About This Wine:
The 2006 Petite Sirah exhibits the typical deep black and purple hues that, amazingly, comes from only 10 days of skin contact. 10 months of oak aging contribute rich aromas and flavors of toasty vanilla that are well balanced with the characteristic plum, boysenberry and hints of roasted game. The entry is rich and concentrated, the structure and weight are big but the finish is silky and very approachable early on for this varietal.
Vineyard Notes: This 2.8-acre vineyard is located on the west side of the valley floor and benefits from copious direct sunlight during the growing season. With deep, well drained alluvial soils, split canopy trellis system, as well as cool breezes in the afternoon, it is a perfect situation for Petite Sirah. Planted with clones of Petite Sirah that are believed to be true “Duriff” sourced from the Wente Vineyards.
About The Winery:
Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards invites you to enjoy our wines, stroll through our gardens, or stay for an afternoon picnic. Conveniently located on Highway 29, we welcome visitors daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Prior appointment for tasting is not required for groups fewer than 8.
About The Winemaker:
Andy Pestoni is the fourth generation of his family to live and work in the Napa Valley. Born and raised in St. Helena, today he directs the winemaking for Rutherford Grove Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery’s total production is 10,000 cases a year and the wines are estate-grown from 50 acres of vineyards in the Rutherford and Howell Mountain appellations. The family came to the Napa Valley in the late 1880’s from the Ticino region of Switzerland, from the town of Monte Carasso.
“Even though I have winemakers in my family history, I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a winemaker,” Andy smiles. He caught the ‘wine bug’ working harvests at Beaulieu Vineyard while attending college. He went on to work in the cellar at Ferrari-Carrano in Sonoma County for several years. While he was at Ferrari-Carrano his father and uncle bought a winery formerly known as Rutherford Vintners, in the town of Rutherford, and asked Andy to ‘come home’ and help them launch it as a new family winery. Ray Corison joined the team for the first few years as a winemaking consultant, as did Bob Pepi; from the 1996 vintage on, though, Andy has directed all winemaking operations.
Varietals: 100% Petite Sirah
Barrel Aging: 10 Months; 50% French Oak, 50% American Oak 50% new, 30% one-year old, 20% two-year old
Winemaker: Andy Pestoni