What We Say 2008 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah
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Mission Codename: Who’s the fairest of them all
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Re-infiltrate Miro Cellars and acquire their delicious 2008 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Miro Cellars
Wine Subject: 2008 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov
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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest purple with an dark and nearly black but clear core, a slightly viscous surface when swirled, dense purple edges with evenly-spaced legs that emerge quickly and then streak down the side of the glass.
Smell – Plush, redolent and rich with jammy blackberry, plum and blueberry with an earthy bramble, herbal and toasty component along with soft oak and spiced pepper hints.
Feel – Smooth dry and rich, this full-bodied wine is smooth and round on the palate and quite well developed for a relatively youthful wine. Balance acidity with present tannins gives this wine a nearly chewy character.
Taste – Dark, juicy and delicious with blackberry, plum and blueberry fruit forward flavors framed by earthy and toasty bramble notes, black pepper and dark cocoa and vanilla hints.
Finish – Plush and long with lingering black and blue fruit notes giving way to the subtle complexity of toasted oak and herbs, earth and dark cocoa.
Conclusion – The 2008 Miro Cellars Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah is smooth, rich, long and well developed wine that is not at all coarse or bitter as is common with this bold variety. A perfect wine to enjoy during winter in front of a roaring fire. Enjoy now or for the next 5-10 years. Miro is quickly becoming a favorite producer of Petite Sirah among our operatives, and for good reason!
MIRO INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miro Tcholakov
DATE OF BIRTH: February 4, 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.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: So far I made my mark with Petite sirah for the Miro brand, with my other jobs I have done very well with other varieties and blends. In general I’m very fond of perhaps the only two varieties that California has claim to fame as truly “heritage” –P. Sirah and Zinfandel. My Petite has done well with the gate keepers and media so far.
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: Greetings, Miro. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah today. Your previous vintages of this wine have been our most popular Petites of all time! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MIRO TCHOLAKOV: A pleasure. My ’08 Petite is a juicy treat that I’m certain your Operatives will love!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MIRO: I don’t think that there was any specific event-wine has always been part of our life back in Bulgaria. We made every year about 1000 liters and manage to drink most of it before the next harvest. Wine has always been part of the life circle, just like making cheese or jam or tomato sauces. We also made grappa every year. My grandfather Mariano was the initial inspiration and the first hand source of winemaking knowledge.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MIRO: The real winemaking I learned during my first years at Dry Creek. I’m not done with the learning by any means yet. Back in Bulgaria we made the wine in the most pure way possible. We rarely used even sulfur! No additives and none of the modern gadgets-just grapes and barrels.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MIRO: Don’t play with the wine just because you know how. Only intervene when you absolutely have to and you are sure of the outcome. Always pay attention to the details all the time. Everything you do to the wine-matters!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MIRO: Well I don’t think there is just one person-it is more of a collective of people and styles. I do not believe that I have a particular style per say-I just try to get out of the grapes the most from every vintage-and that would be different every year.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MIRO: Legally? Commercially –this harvest was my number 20!
RED: Who do you make wine for?
MIRO: I guess I can say that first I want to be satisfied with the wines I make and of course it will be great if a lot of people including media like them as well. Otherwise I’ll have a lot of wine to drink by myself…
RED: Tell me, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
MIRO: Dry Creek Valley had a long established reputation for Zin and Petite and rightfully so. It is one of those rare combinations of terroir that matches perfectly with Petite and the result is in the glass.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MIRO: You have to love the job. If you are in it just 8 to 5 don’t even think about it. If the love and passion are not there you will be just a booze maker. Also you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of time and long days and hours away from the family.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MIRO: Right now we are dealing with the 2009 Blends and prepping the wines for bottling, also we are finishing the new 2010 wines before we put them to bed in barrels. Very busy time.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
MIRO: The wine is 2008 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah. I’ve been a fan of Petite for more than 20 years or ever since I begun making wine in the US. The 2008 vintage was a low yielding following the abundant 2007. The weather was relatively cool for Dry Creek Valley and the grapes did not ripen with the usual massive sugars and the aromas and flavors are brighter and fruitier with more pronounced violets and blueberry tones and more white pepper on the nose. I intentionally used less new oak to preserve more of the beautiful fruit. The mouth feel is rather “civilized” for a young Pet, soft, round with almost sweet tannins and very juicy almost Zin –like (big Zin) finish
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MIRO: Lets see-the last time I had the wine with pan seared rib stake with oven roasted new potatoes with rosemary and blue cheese crumbs and I can still taste it…
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
MIRO: I wanted to be a MD back in Bulgaria but my girlfriend talked me out of it
RED: Thank goodness for us fans of your wines! What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MIRO: Rhone wines for sure. I even make one for a winemaker called Cuvee Sasha a GSM-simply delicious without all the pretence.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MIRO: Think of them as $100 bottle of wines and you will not be disappointed. I hate the cliché but they are “affordable luxury”
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
MIRO: I would like to try again the 1927 Château D’yquem
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
MIRO: Have I been connected to KGB? The answer is –perhaps!
RED: Our intel reports were correct then! Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
MIRO: Thank you! Wine Spies days are always very exciting around here. Your customers are well-informed – and they know good wine.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the approximate location of the Miro Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the approximate location of the Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards at the Passalacqua/Seghesio property can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The grape yields in the 2008 vintage were relatively lower than normal, thus producing wines with more depth, extraction and flavors. This Petite is a great example of the varietal’s potential: abundantflavors and aromas of blackberries, blueberries, plums and white pepper. On the mouth: substantial tannins with a long juicy finish deliver dark and delicious wine destined to age well.
Winemaking: The 2008 vintage was a rollercoaster ride. Late winter and spring were unusually dry, then a killer frost struck in April, forcing many growers to use their already scarce water supplies for a protective spray of water on the vines. Some of the old growers said it was the worst frost they’d seen since 1972. Summer itself was typically moderate and warm, and harvest got off to an early start in August, with many varieties ripening at the same time. We were lucky and did not get any damage from the frost earlier in the year and our grapes did not get damaged from the heat back in May. The grapes were harvested on October 9th, 2008 from a single vineyard in Dry Creek Valley for the total of about 3 tons with 25 degrees Brix sugar. After cold soak the wine was fermented in an open top fermentor for the total of ten days. After pressing the wine was racked to barrels and aged for 21 months in 36% new European oak barrels.
The Concept: I made my first Petite Sirah 20years ago and I’m still in love with the grape. Petite is truly an American variety-powerful, bold and unrestrained in its capability, and yet it needs a gentle winemaking approach to unveil its true identity.
Vineyard: Dry Creek Valley has a long established reputation for growing outstanding Zin and Petite Sirah. The grapes are from two distinctly different vineyard-one on the valley floor a few feet from Dry Creek and the other from a beautiful hill side vineyard surrounded by towering Redwoods.
Soil: The valley floor is comprised of predominantly deep gravelly-sandy and Cortina type soils (fertile) whereas the hill side is made of mostly low fertility, brick red clay (Manzanita) type soil. Both type soils produce wines with relatively low pH and firm structure.
About The Winery:
MIRO Cellars searches the region for the nest grapes from a variety of vineyards to make their one-of-a-kind specialty wines. Award winning winemaker Miro Tcholakov considers the particular geology and seasonal climate variations of each vineyard when selecting the most interesting grapes the region has to offer. Because Miro has complete freedom to make precisely the wines he loves best, the results are a spectacular leap above the expected. Let yourself in on one of the best kept secrets in wine today — MIRO.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Blend: 100 % Petite Sirah
Harvest Date: October 9th, 2008
Barrel aging: 21 months in 36% new European oak barrels
TA: 0.54g/100 ml
Production: 212 cases