2005 La Storia Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: History Repeats Itself
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Trentadue Winery in Sonoma County’s pristine Alexander Valley, secure another exclusive wine for our Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Trentadue Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 La Storia Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov
Backgrounder: Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Bordeaux Varietals. Read Agent Red’s detailed tasting notes and winemaker interview, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Inky dark purple, with a slightly opaque heart. At its edges, a thick band of pure lavender rings the glass. After swirling the wine, thick, wine-stained legs crawl slowly down the glass.
Smell – Lush and large, with sweet blackberry, blueberry, plum and cassis – with secondary aromatic cedar, dark strawberry and black pepper.
Feel – Balanced on entry, riding a fine line between soft and round and softly dry. The wine hovers easily between these two states for several moments, before a more serious dryness spreads slowly backward from the tip of the tongue.
Taste – Intense dark blackberry and blueberry give way to dark cherry, plum, black pepper and an intriguing dark nectarine.
Finish – Mouthwatering and delicious, with dark flavors that go on and on for a very long time. Eventually, these flavors end with a soft blackberry and black pepper.
Overall – Lovers of Petite Sirah, rejoice! This is a big, delicious and wonderfully balanced treat. Too many California Petites are brash examples that knock you around with huge oak and flavors that are out of control. Today’s wine holds everything in perfect harmony, with just the right amount of intensity – and softness. Flavors are authentic and delicious, and the aromas practically leap from the glass. The more you swirl, the better the fruit aromas – and the softer the feel becomes. Winemaker, Miro Tcholakov, is a master of Sonoma County Petite Sirah and we continue to be huge fans of all of his delicious wines.
MIRO INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miro Tcholakov
DATE OF BIRTH: 02.04.1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Trojan, Bulgaria
WINE EDUCATION: Higher Institute of Agriculture, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, UC Davis, SRJC
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Dry Creek Vineyards-1990-1999 as Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Master, Trentadue Winery-1999-present-Winemaker/VP of Production, Miro Cellars-2001-present. Also consulted and continue to consult for a few other small projects domestically and abroad. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for ZAP and “PS I Love you” organizations
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Freedom of Expression”- meaning for Miro wines I source only vineyards that are interesting to me in regard of geology, soil types, location, grape growing styles, grape grower…etc. Not being confined to an “Estate” vineyard gives me the freedom of choice. If the vineyard does not deliver I move on. Great wines can be made without blue blooded heritage and a Chateau in the foreground.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Well I’m not sure what do you consider Highlight but if you mean wine scores I have a few 90 points and above from Wine Enthusiast, Parker, Wine Spectator, Connoisseur Guide, California Grapevine, top picks in New York Times, USA Today, and hundreds of Gold medals and Best of Class and a few Sweepstakes from wine competitions that matter.
I have met and tasted my wines one on one with Michelle Rolland (without paying for it) if that is considered an event but I found that to be very interesting. I have been on the pages of few wine publications. Once Dan Burger put me on the top 20 winemakers in the country… There is probably more that I don’t remember…
MIRO QUOTE: Just drink it-it is only wine!
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
MIRO: Trentadue has been known as a great Petite producer for the last 40 years. The La Storia wines are our reserve wines, our best effort. The grapes are exclusively grown on our Geyserville Estate-from Blocks 402 and 400.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MIRO: Petite Sirah can be easily used instead of Cabernet in most recipes. Many meat dishes-most obviously stakes will be greatly complimented by the exuberant abundance of tannin, fruit and flavor of the mighty Petite. For the vegetarians try it with spicy eggplant, roasted Portobello, and many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Alexander Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: Geyserville area is in the middle of the Alexander Valley where grape growing dates back more than a century. Some of our blocks are still the original vineyards planted back in 1896. Petite Sirah is planted and mixed in all of those block- a testimony to the importance of that variety back than as well as today. The climate and soils around the banks of the Russian River are perfect for any red varieties-deep, gravely, well drained soils that provide the building blocks for great color and depth in our Petite. The fruit profile is always in the deep dark and red stone fruits with considerable body.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MIRO: We are doing a lot of final prep for bottling-fine tuning the blends, racking and blending, fining and filtration. The fun never stops specially during bottling (I’m being sarcastic).
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!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Trentadue Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2008 Orange County Fair & Wine Competition
About This Wine:
The 2005 is our third bottling of the Estate Petite Sirah under the La Storia designation. The 2005 vintage will go down in history as “the abundant” vintage and yet as one of the better balanced in terms of ripeness and overall structure of the wines. In normal year we do our grape thinning in one pass but in 2005 we had to do it in two passes and in some blocks even three times. The grapes were harvested October 10th of 2005 –more than a month later than average. The longer “hang” time on the vines increased the intensity of the flavors and softened the tannins and ultimately the wines are richer and more complex. As usual, half of the grapes were fermented in small open top punch down fermentors and the other half in stainless steel tanks. This time I used several different types of yeast for the primary fermentation for additional complexity. Approximately 30% of the wine was aged in new European and American oak barrels. Stylistically our 2005 is similar to previous vintages-a big, powerful wine, with dense berry-laden aromas and lush, mouthfilling flavors. The difference is the surprising feel of polish and elegance not usually associated with young Petite Sirahs. Based on our track record this is another successful vintage of age worthy wine that will keep you intrigued for many years to come.
Cheers! Miro Tcholakov – Winemaker
About The Winery:
The Trentadue family arrived in Sonoma County long before their region gained a reputation as the Wine Country. Life-long, hands-on agriculturists, Evelyn and Leo Trentadue contributed significantly to the advancement of their region over the years. In 1959, the Trentadues decided to flee the developers encroaching on their apricot and cherry orchards in Sunnyvale, the area known today around the world as Silicon Valley. To preserve their way of life, these hard-working Italian ranchers purchased 208 acres of land in Sonoma County’s then remote Alexander Valley.
There was little market for the region’s dry-farmed apples, prunes, pears, and grapes in the late 1950s, so land was cheap and plentiful. Scores of ranches were for sale but, because it was blessed with an excellent combination of climate, soil, and water, Leo settled on a special piece of property in the heart of the Alexander Valley. Little did he know what this ranch had once been, much less what it was to become.
The piece of land, which is now home to Trentadue Winery, has a remarkable history. In 1868, a French botanist named Andrew Bouton established Heart’s Desire Nursery on this excellent site east of the railroad tracks. With a passion for breeding new and improved strains of fruit trees, Bouton devoted himself to plant propagation, becoming a major supplier of young tree stock to orchardists throughout the western United States. His reputation attracted the attention of a young man named Luther Burbank who visited Bouton frequently. Influenced by Bouton, Burbank conducted his own work in nearby Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.
Leo Trentadue has a reputation for openness to new ideas. Over the years, this inveterate tinkerer has been among the first to experiment with what resulted in a number of viticultural/wine industry innovations. An overview of his unheralded achievements: From dry farming to irrigation. Horse drawn plows and dry farming were still practiced when the Trentadues arrived in the Alexander Valley. Leo introduced advanced irrigation practices common to his former home in Santa Clara County.
The Trentadues were among the very first to plant new vines in Sonoma County since the days of Prohibition. Italians love their red wines, especially hearty reds like Carignane. In 1962, the Trentadue family began planting new Carignane vines in addition to the 68 acres of old vines already growing on their ranch. Now more than 35 years old, these vines are among the oldest producing Carignane vineyards in America. The family remains steadfastly devoted to this grape, and their wine ranks indisputably among just a handful of top ranked California Carignane. Case in point: At the 1997 West Coast Wine Competition, Trentadue 1993 Carignane was awarded both a Gold Medal and Best of Class.
Understanding the importance of growing only those grape varieties, which excelled in his vineyards, in 1974 Leo installed half-acre blocks of eight different varietals. The quality of the Sangiovese was extraordinary, so all other vines were replanted to this famed variety from Tuscany. Because Evelyn and Leo share a Tuscan heritage, it is not surprising that in 1984 Trentadue was the first producer to release a 100% varietal wine named for this famed grape of Italy. The superior quality of this wine earned a Gold/Best of Class for the 1993 vintage at the 1995 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
In 1987, Leo Trentadue encouraged his winemaker to experiment with fortified wines. An excellent Petite Sirah Port resulted, among the very first of its kind. The wine was well received, so a Merlot Port was added to the line. Both wines have consistently earned top awards, including a Gold/Best of Class at the 1997 National Orange Show.
This winery’s story cannot be told without mention of the Trentadues’ remarkable long-term relationship with Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards. Their personal history began in 1952 when the Trentadues became Paul’s neighbor in Santa Clara, after buying an old abandoned wine estate at the end of Montebello Road. Paul began buying fruit from their ancient vines, striking up a friendship which continues to this day.
Both Draper and the Trentadues know a good thing when they see it. Draper was quick to benefit from the Trentadues’ aptitude for viticulture. The Trentadues have similarly benefited from Draper’s wine business savvy. Indeed, it is Draper who encouraged the family to take advantage of their location and establish an estate winery.
The list of mutual benefits derived from the Trentadue and Ridge association is extensive: Fruit from the Trentadues’ Geyserville estate has been sold to Ridge Vineyards every vintage since 1967. In 1974, Ridge Vineyard acquired the Trentadues’ mountaintop winery and vineyard today known as Montebello. Victor Trentadue manages not only 99 plus acres of his family’s estate-owned fruit contracted to Ridge, but is also entrusted to manage 188 additional acres of Dry Creek Valley grapes under contract nearby to Draper.
Varietals: 88% Petite Sirah, 12% Syrah
Appellation: Alexander Valley Estate
Production: 1196 cases
Residual Sugar: 0.04%
Total Acid: 0.60g/100ml pH: 3.68
Aging: 15 months in 30% new European and French oak barrels; remainder in 2 and 3 year old mixed American and European oak.
Bottled Date: February 2007
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov