2004 Terroir Select Petite Syrah
Petite Sirah •Pallini Ranch
California: Mendocino County
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: Today’s Double God winner is a superb Petite Syrah
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Mission Codename: You say Petite Sirah, I say Petite Syrah!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a stellar Petite Syrah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Stonehedge Cellars
Wine Subject: 2004 Petite Syrah
Winemaker: Dennis Patton
Backgrounder: Many months have passed since we presented a great Petite Syrah (aka Petite Sirah) and our Operatives have been demanding another. Great Petite is available in California, but it take some clever sleuthing to find a really great example. Our confidential informants at the San Francisco International Wine Competition leaked intel on Stonehedge Cellars’ 2004 Petite Syrah, Agent Red was dispatched to investigate. Today he returns with a select quantity of this Gold and Double Gold medal winning wine. Read his tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep burgundy with an inky purple heart, a tight surface, dark edges and tightly-spaced legs that are slow to emerge – then streak down the glass
Smell – This wine delivers a deeply pleasing kapow of dark stonefruit, big dark mixed berry, smoked meats, casis, subtle licorrice, and a fresh and slightly horsey forest floor aroma
Feel – A very wet wine initially, with an up-front dryness that leads to a bright and coating all-over-mouth bigness, with big tannins
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 Syrah is something of a rarity in California, with less than 3500 total acres planted. Getting a great Petite seems like even more of a rarity, and its been a long time since we have featured one here. When this Petite Syrah was offered to me, I almost turned it away, but the reputation of the winery had preceded the offer and I gratefully accepted the samples that the winery provided. Am I ever glad that I did! This Petite is a solid and very interesting example of this sometimes misunderstood varietal. The wine has deep aromatics, bold flavors, a great mouthfeel and a finish that goes on and on. Well-decanted, the wine becomes softer, sweeter and even way more enjoyable.
Today’s wine recently won a Double Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
The San Francisco International Wine Competition says this, about itself:
“The San Francisco International Wine Competition, the largest, most influential international wine competition in America, is judged by a prestigious panel of nationally recognized wine experts. Judging is based on a blind, consensual procedure, ensuring that its rigor and integrity remain the nation’s most respected competition.”
We have been asked, “What is the general The Wine Spies official position on wine competitions?” With so many competitions around the world, we don’t have a general position. We do, however, have a position on the S.F. International Wine Competition. It’s own self-description is one that we agreed with and endorse!
I have found that wines that are awarded medals in this competition deserve them. Today’s richly robust Petite Syrah certainly does.
Our mole at the competition, [CENSORED], was able to give us some early buzz on some of the wines that were raising eyebrows among the judges and while the mole would never breech competition rules or confidentiality, we did learn about a few wines to watch.
When the results were made final, immediately called upon Stonehedge. They happily poured for me and I found the wine to be Double Gold Worthy! The folks at the winery are very proud of their win and they should be; This is a wine of great quality and distinction.
Congratulations to Stonehedge on their win. Congratulations to you, dear Operative, if you manage to get your hands on a few bottles of today’s great wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The vineyard where today’s wine was born can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold – San Francisco International Wine Competition 2008
Gold – San Diego National Wine Competition 2008
Wine Enthusiast – 88 Points – Big and bold, this is classic coastal Petite Syrah. It’s dark in color, robust in texture and massive in black berry, cherry, currant, mocha and anise flavor that tastes like they’ve been baked into a pie. Dry, crisp and balanced, it will be delicious with a char broiled steak.
About This Wine:
The Stonehedge 2004 Terroir Select Petite Syrah is produced exclusively from grapes grown in the famed “Pallini Ranch” Vineyard in Mendocino County. Pallini Ranch is a small grower family who have been farming in Mendocino for 3 generations. These vines are among the oldest vineyards planted in the state of California. The results speak for themselves. The wine is dark, deep in color, nose of berries, it is full bodied, while it keeps its elegance. It has a strong concentrated flavor of blueberry that stays on your pallet for a long time. The balance between hard tannins and soft tannins are very healthy and help the age ability of the wine. This wine has the aging ability of 15 years.
About The Winery:
In 1992, the Shahabi Brothers began producing wines in the small town of St. Helena, situated in the heart of Napa Valley. The Shahabis selected Napa Valley with the strong belief that the rich and diverse terrain of Napa Valley combined with the ever beaming and warm California sunshine would produce exceptional wines, hardly matched anywhere else in the world. From the very beginning, the Shahabis made the gentle care of the grapes from vine to bottle priority one. This care and dedication has pushed the small family operated Stonehedge to the forefront of California winemaking and a recognized name for exceptional quality.
Since its first release in the early 90’s, Stonehedge has quickly become synonymous with quality. Results speak for themselves. Since its debut, Stonehedge sales now span the globe, from the entire United States to Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
Stonehedge’s mission is to produce wines that are worlds apart from wines produced by the large producers or corporate conglomerates. Stonehedge’s philosophy is to produce elegantly handcrafted wines that are affordable by the majority of the population. In today’s world, after all the consolidations and mergers, corporate giants who treat wine like liquor own some of the even so called small producers. At Stonehedge, we ritually believe that wine is a delicate and sensitive product that must be handled with utmost respect and attention to all details. Stonehedge is dedicated to producing exciting, delicious, multi-dimensional wines that are not only available to a few, but to everyone.
About The Winemaker:
Dennis Patton, a legendary winemaker, began his career in the wine industry in the early 70’s as an organic farmer and winemaker in Mendocino County, California. Since then, Dennis has worked closely with some of the best growers across California, and has been the artist behind many wines with high press accolades and ratings.
Through nearly 30 years of winemaking experience and working with the best growers across California, Dennis has gained intimate knowledge of all aspects of grape growing and winemaking. Time and time again, Dennis has demonstrated an exceptional knack for extracting the most and best possible from the vineyards and grapes he has worked with.
Dennis, like any master artist, successfully makes great wines of all spectrums – from the delicate and subtle to overpowering monsters.
Dennis’s natural talents and abilities have been enhanced by his education at UC Davis’ winemaking school.
Dennis comes from an agricultural family and innately retains a deep passion for winemaking and viticulture. This passion shines in his hands-on approach and dedication to making the best and most expressive wines from each vineyard site.
To this day, Dennis does his own field-testing for every vineyard site to insure quality fruit is at the heart of each wine he makes.
Stonehedge specializes in the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Stonehedge produces wines in three distinct profiles: 1. California Appellation wines; 2. Napa Valley Appellation wines; 3. “Signature Vines”™. The California Appellation wines offer a fruit forward, supple and soft flavor profile with a light touch of oak. The Napa Valley appellation wines offer an intense, rich and concentrated fruit core with elegantly rounded tannins framed by toasty oak notes. The “Signature Vines”™ wines are produced from specifically selected blocs of famous vineyards embodying the best a varietal has to offer. All “Signature Vines”™ productions are very limited.
At Stonehedge, we strongly believe in gentle care and handling of the grapes from the vine to the bottle. All vineyards are meticulously managed with a ritual green harvest in early summer, ensuring low yields. All Napa Valley grapes are hand harvested, carefully inspected, and subsequently fermented in small fermenters. Stonehedge draws its fruit from some of the best vineyards across California, benefiting from California’s diversely rich and complex soil and microclimates, all the way from Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Mendocino, down to Santa Barbara.