Christopher Creek Winery
2004 Petite Sirah
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Christopher Creek Winery.
Mission Codename: The Limerick
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a stellar Petite Sirah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Christopher Creek Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Chris Russi
Backgrounder: Requests for a killer Petite Sirah have been flooding in from all over the Spy-o-sphere so we set Agent Red loose on an urgent mission to find the perfect Sonoma County Petite
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep purple with an inky heart, a tight surface, dark edges and tightly-spaced legs that remind this agent of octopus tenticles!
Smell – This wine delivers a pleasing wallop of dark stonefruit, big dark berry, smoked meat, casis and a delightfully fresh forest floor aroma
Feel – A very wet wine intitially with a coolness that refreshes – then the tanins go to work and quickly dry the tongue and the roof of the mouth
Taste – Richly layered and highly concentrated flavors of ripe black plum, jammy roasted blackberry and blueberry, smoked raisin, dark cherry and sweet dried fall leaves
Finish – Dry and long with flavors that go and go…
Conclusion – Petite Sirah is something of a rarity in California, with less than 3500 acres planted. Getting a great Petite seems like even more of a rarity. When I came across this particular Petite, I was elated. Christopher Creek gets it just right with this wine! This Petite is ready-to-drink gem that is filled with luscious flavors and aromas. The tannins are fairly solid and strong and I would say that it is a perfect drink now wine. Cellar it for up to 8 more years if you want the wine to soften and mature. I tried the wine right out of the bottle and then again after it was decanted for several hours; what a difference. The decanted wine becomes far softer, sweeter and more way more enjoyable.
There was a young fella named Chris
whose grand-uncle once said, “Drink this”
T’was a libation so fine
that his heart it did shine
and Chris said “Henceforth, I shall make wine!”
His wine journey did start
and he followed his heart
to a school of high enophile learning
where he did seek, interest starting to peak,
to satisfy wine-knowledge yearning
Pure wisdom he sought
At U.C. Davis was taught
Where its classrooms stimulated his thought
The payoff of his wager
was his double wine major
Wine erudition his money had bought
Now young Chris yearned for more –
from his toes to his core
where the vineyards called out to his soul,
“Come NOW Chris, grab your shears and let’s grow!”
Never one to feel bleak
keeping up his hot streak
Chris began his intense wine career
Pondering wineries tiny and those massive-big
he landed at wine-giant, Guyser Peak
Wines and vines he now knew
and Chris had even grander ambition
After one short audition he secured the position
of Christopher Creek’s main wine magician
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Christopher Creek’s fabled Limerick Lane vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Check out The Wine Spies on Wine Library TV
Awards & Accolades:
The 2003 Vintage of this wine has won many awards and accolades. We expect many more for the 2004 vintage! Here are some highlights on the 2003:
Gold Medal– Tasters Guild International, May 2006
Silver Medal– Riverside International Wine Competition, April 2006
Silver Medal- “North of the Gate” Wine Competition SAVOR Wine Magazine, May 2006
Silver Medal– Orange County Fair, June 2006
Silver Medal- Sonoma County Harvest Fair, October 2006
2004 Vintage Tasting Notes:
Christopher Creek has won over 50 Gold and Silver Medals in peer wine competitions during the last 10 years. Demand for our Petite always exceeds availability.
We are very fortunate that one of our neighbors grows outstanding Petite Sirah grapes enabling our winemaker to produce this vintage of our Petite.
This Petite was vinted from grapes grown at the 16 year old Samantha’s Vineyard located on Limerick Lane producing a wine with an inky, jammy, blueberry and plum fruit characteristics.
We expect this rich tannins wine to have an aging potential of 10 years. This wine would benefit from decanting and aerating for at least a 1/2 hour before serving.
Petite can be enjoyed with many foods to make a meal more memorable. Our suggestions for pairing are: Ahi Tuna, Game Birds (especially Duck, Goose, and Quail), Turkey, Venison, Lamb, Pork, and Beef. If you are preparing gravy, try adding a tablespoon of wine to each cup of gravy to integrate the food with the wine(be sure to warm the gravy to cook off the alcohol).
About This Wine:
Russian River Valley – Estate Bottled
Our Estate Grown Petite Sirah grapes received, as always, very special care during the 2004 growing season. We are fortunate to have several blocks of Petite Sirah each with varying age, elevation and sun exposure. We hand-thinned the crop and did extensive deleafing to expose the fruit which maximizes pigment in the berry’s skin. All this work paid off and allowed us to get concentrated and healthy fruit. The favorable growing season coupled with sun-exposed fruit helped develop rich tannins and let the complex flavors of cassis, blackberry, coffee and spice fully develop. As with past vintages, the wine should age well over the next 8-to-10 years. So that the tannins will soften and the fruit will shine, we recommend holding this wine until mid-2007 before drinking. Should you want to drink the wine earlier, we suggest decanting a half hour before serving.
Petite can be enjoyed with many foods and can make a meal more memorable. Our suggestions for pairing are: Ahi tuna, game birds (especially duck, goose and quail), turkey, venison, lamb, pork and beef. If you are preparing gravy, try adding a tablespoon of wine to each cup of gravy to integrate the food with the wine (be sure to warm the gravy to cook off the alcohol).
About Christopher Creek Winery:
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Northern part of the Russian River Appellation near Healdsburg, California, is where you will find Christopher Creek Winery.
We’re a small, family owned winery with a history of producing award-winning, estate bottled and hand crafted wines. We produce 4500 cases annually of Petite Sirah, Reserve Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Viognier. Our family vineyards consist of Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet.
Our Growing History
In addition to growing grapes, we have been farming oranges and olives in the Central Valley of California for the past 30 years. We currently live on a Cabernet vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.
Growing quality grapes is the primary focus in developing great wines. As we have been farming for many years, we appreciate the fine balance between agricultural practices and the quality of the grape. So does our winemaker, Chris Russi, who previously worked at Geyser Peak Winery in Geyserville, California. He received his degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis, California.
With the growing interest in the Rhone style wines, Petite Sirah, Viognier and Syrah, Christopher Creek Winery offers wines produced from older as well as newer vines. Our vineyard is located in the Northeastern part of the Russian River Appellation, where the climate is warmer. We produce some of the best Syrah and Petite Sirah in the area.
Our 2005 Russian River Estate Bottled Syrah is a “Best of Class-Gold Medal Winner” and our 2004 Dry Creek “Finlay’s Vineyard” Cabernet is a Gold and Silver Medal Winner. Zinfandels produced by Christopher Creek are consistently “Best of Class,” “Best of Show,” Gold and Silver Medal Winners. Our Petite Sirahs are legendary winners with over 40 Medals and “Best of Class-Gold Medals” during the past ten years. In addition to the many medals our wines have been awarded, Christopher Creek Winery has also been mentioned in recent print and online articles.
Our Tasting Room is open daily, 11 am to 5 pm and by appointment. Visit our winery, meet with us and our Tasting Room staff.
Varietals: 50% blend of Petite Sirah Renz Hoppi and 50% Petite Sirah Peters.
Harvested: September 2004
Released: Spring 2006
Yield: 2.3 tons per acre
Aged: 25% new American oak barrels and 75% 1-3yr old American and French oak barrels for 14 Months
Production: 223 cases produced