2006 Suisun Valley Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah •King Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Suisun Vallley
What We Say
The wine drinks way above its price class, earning it this QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert. We issue these when we show a wine that delivers a fantastic value.
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Mission Codename: Le Roi Des Bêtes
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Olabisi Wine Cellars, in the town of Napa, and procure their spectacular 2006 Suisun Vallley Petite Sirah, a wine that is among their most popular.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Olabisi Wine Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Suisun Valley Petite Sirah, King Vineyard
Winemaker: Ted Osborne
Backgrounder: 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 – Deep cherry juice-red, with a clear but darkening heart. At the edge of the wine, the wine shows off a wide band of pure magenta. After swirling, wide, wine-stained legs move slowly down the wall of the glass. Color sticks to the glass for a very long time.
Smell – Bold, ripe and earthy, with dark mixed berries of blackberry, mulberry, blueberry and smoky dark raspberry mixing with mocha, dark chocolate, bramble, dried fall leaves, leather, spice and a hint of black tea.
Feel – Round and plush on the attack. Quickly grippy on the tip of the tongue. Plush tannins contribute to the crushed velvet feel and as the wine settles onto the palate, a flinty dryness spreads to the far corners of the mouth.
Taste – Dark and delicious, with mouth-filling flavors of smoky young blueberry, tiny black currant, plum, dusty dried raisin, mocha, bakers chocolate, dried fall leaves, soft brown spice and a hint of leather.
Finish – Flavor-filled and very long, the fruit and spice and earthiness all fading slowly and in even proportion with one another. As these fade away, pepper and spice persist to the very end
Conclusion – All hail the King! Ted Osborn’s King Vineyard Petite Sirah is a stunner. We really enjoyed his King Vineyard Syrah, when we featured it earlier this year, and we love this wine even more. Bursting with dark berries and balanced with earthy delights, this wine shows great poise. Flavors are big, but the wine does not overpower. If you have never experienced the unique terroir of Suisun Valley, Just for fun I’d suggest that you taste this wine side-by-side with a Napa or Sonoma Petite. Pair this big wine with something big, like a spicy lamb dish or a pepper rubbed steak.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Ted Osborne
WINE EDUCATION: BA in English Lit…And then on-the-job training in Napa and around the world
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cellar Rat at Cakebread, Associate Winemaker at Storybook Mountain, Winemaker at Piña, Winemaker for Phifer Pavitt Winery, and Winemaker for Blue Hall Vineyard
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Find an outstanding vineyard with unique and untapped potential. Pick at perfect ripeness. Ferment on wild yeast, wild malolactic. Barrel down and try to leave it to its own devices at every opportunity.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”The only things that matter are flavor and aroma. All else is speculation and blindness.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2000 Olabisi Cabernet Sauvignon, (Rutherford November, 2002)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Ted. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Petite Sirah today. This is one fantastic wine! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
TED OSBORNE: I am happy to be back with you, Agent Red, and I am thrilled that your Operatives love our wine!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TED: Growing up Irish Catholic. Beyond that, there was one night when my uncle brought over a bottle of ’69 Haut Brion for the family dinner. I was 18, we were eating barbecue tri-tip and drinking this beautiful wine. Everyone at the table was apportioned less than half a glass and I savored it. We all did.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TED: Wines from the Rhone region of France, and Ehren Jordan
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TED: I make my wines for the expression of the vineyard and for the people who want to experience what that is.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
TED: This is a Petite Sirah from a one-of-a-kind vineyard farmed by Roger King. The vines are dry-farmed and stressed and pushed to the limit until we pick the fruit, usually the day before the first big rains of winter.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TED: We like to do Kobe Beef Sliders.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Suisun Valley so special?
TED: Growers like Roger King who use more art than science, more passion than business acumen, and who live with their vines, experiencing each day alongside their beloved vineyards. Suisun Valley has a way of taking usually tannic varietals and turning them into plush, voluptuous, mouthfuls of joy.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TED: We are monitoring the season’s unpredictable weather and making every effort to bring in every grape at its utmost ripeness.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
TED: My ultimate customer is one who eventually trusts me to bring them creative and rewarding wines vintage after vintage. Trust is required because my goal is not to make the same wine I made last year. My goal is to make the best wine for a particular vineyard in a particular vintage. To succeed at that, one must let the vineyard take the lead and craft the wine around flavor of the fruit on the day it was picked.
Oh, and give at least a couple bottle some cellar time. These wines are made for now as well as the long haul.
Oh, and then make sure to enjoy the evolution of the wine in the glass. The complexity is best experienced over time.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TED: Please drop by our tasting room for a visit the next time you’re in Napa. We’d love to meet you and share a glass or two of wine.
RED: I’ll be sure to pop in, again. I really enjoy my time in your tasting room! 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 King Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Sophisticated flavors of kirsch and framboise are balanced nicely within a sturdy, firm frame, with toast, blackberry jam, black truffle and nutmeg notes that fan out on the finish, where the tannins become more serious. Drink now through 2018. 250 cases made. — MaryAnn Worobiec, Expressive Reds from California
About This Wine:
Ripe black cherries, violets, blackberries, black tar, Framboise, white pepper, vanilla, black walnuts and a hint of dark brown sugar. Bursts onto the palate in wave after wave of mouth-coating intensity. Flavors of pomegranate, black cherry, black tar, black olives, cedar, baking chocolate, spice and toasty oak. An altogether mind-altering wine. Enjoy from now to 2020.
About The Winery:
Olabisi is a boutique Napa winery focused on creating limited quantities of unique and flavorful wines from rare and exquisite California vineyards. These are vineyard designate wines, fermented naturally with wild yeast and minimal intervention. Our current offerings include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Chardonnay. The wines are available at select restaurants and through our tasting room in Napa, California.
VINEYARD: : A couple miles over the Napa County line, meticulously dry farmed, 12th leaf
GROWER: Roger King. All he wants to do is make great wine.
HARVEST: Picked at the last moment before the first big rains of winter.
FERMENTATION: Wild yeast, open top fermenter, punched down
ELEVAGE: 11 months in barrel, 50% new French Oak