2005 Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah •Rodney's Vineyard
Santa Barbara County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Nothing Petite about it!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to Operative requests (okay, demands) for another great wine from Epiphany
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Epiphany Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Rodney’s Vineyard Petite sirah
Winemaker: Eli Parker
Backgrounder: Operatives went bonkers for the last Epiphany wine we featured. They made their love for the wine known by buying out every last bottle we had procured. For today’s wine, Agent Red was again dispatched to Epiphany, where he procured one of the best Petite Sirah’s he has ever tasted. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep purple with an inky heart, a tight surface, dark edges and tightly-spaced legs that run down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – This wine delivers a pleasing wallop of dark stonefruit, big dark berry, smoked meat, cassis, licorice root, and a delightfully fresh forest floor aroma
Feel – A very wet wine initially with a coolness that refreshes – then the silken tanins go to work and slowly dry the tongue and the roof of the mouth
Taste – Richly layered with a burst of highly concentrated flavors of sweet ripe black plum, jammy roasted blackberry and blueberry, smoked raisin, dark cherry and sweet dried fall leaves
Finish – Lush and rich and long with flavors that go and go… and then, something very unique happens: I feel a minty coolness on my gums! This was a really unexpected surprise and one that I must say, I love
Conclusion – I am insane crazy about this fantastic wine! 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 got the order to secure today’s wine from Epiphany Cellars, I was elated. Epiphany 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 softer and silkier than I have found in many Cali Petites and I would say that it is a perfect drink now wine. Of course, you could 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 even softer, sweeter and more enjoyable
Another simple smash and grab mission, on this wine, but that does not diminish the significance of this really wonderful find.
Procuring follow on wines from wineries that we have infiltrated in the past can be easy. When that wine outshines the prior wine, I am elated. While Epiphany’s Gypsy (a red blend that we showed here earlier this year) was stupendous, today’s wine is incredible.
Rich, lush, juicy and delicious, this Petite Sirah pleased all of us here at Wine Spies H.Q., even the notoriously difficult to impress Agent Sparkle, who’s favorite red wine is Petite Sirah. When we poured the wine for her recently, we all held our breath as she sniffed, swirled and scrutinized the wine. She took her time, too, and that made all of us rather nervous. When she looked up from the glass, the stern look on her face revealed nothing. Finally, though, she burst out laughing. She had tried to fake us out but, in the end, could not suppress the fact that she, too, adored this wine.
Once we had a unanimous consensus, I was off to the winery to secure a Holiday-sized allotment for today’s offering. This beautifully balanced wine is bright and delicious – and perfect for solo-sipping or holiday entertaining.
A hearty thank you and congratulations to our friends at Epiphany, who have created a masterpiece Petite!
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the Epiphany tasting room, in downtown Los Olivos, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Best Petite Sirah of Show – 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition
About This Wine:
This wine has become one of the favorites in our portfolio and for those of you who have tried it in the past, you know it is never a “shrinking violet”. The 2005 is no different, however we believe you’ll find a wine that is more reminiscent of the 2003 vintage due to its balance, refinement and, dare we say of a Petite Sirah, elegance.
This wine was aged for 19 months in a combination of French (70%) and American (30%) oak barrels. Approximately 35% of the total barrels were new oak to impart those toasty, smoky, chocolatey, spicy vanilla notes to the wine.
Combined with dense black fruit flavors of Petite Sirah and an enticing peppery-spice streak, we believe you’ll enjoy this mulit-layered beauty for years to come! 966 cases made
About The Winery:
When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950’s, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So too did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family’s history.
Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess’ daughter, Ashley explains, “ Fess is from Texas, so he can’t do anything small. “The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.
The characters Fess portrayed, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, inspired generations of Americans. Throughout the late 1950’s and 1960’s Fess was at the pinnacle of a television career that has an unprecedented impact upon American popular culture. But is was Fess’ entrepreneurial spirit that prompted his leaving Hollywood to go into business for himself. The traits that Crockett and Boone embodied – integrity, resourcefulness and good humor — carried over to Fess’ personal life and formed the foundation upon which the family business was built. First-class hospitality has always been at the core of their ventures, first as hoteliers and eventually with the opening of the winery.
Working as a family has always been a great source of pride and pleasure for the Parker family. Eli Parker began in the family business as assistant winemaker in 1989. After several years of learning the craft at the side of renowned and accomplished winemakers, Eli took the reigns as winemaker himself with the 1995 vintage. A leader of the winery since it’s inception, it was in 1996 that Eli formally assumed the title and responsibilities of President. In the early 1990’s, Ashley ran the first tastings out of the barrel room and represented the winery at trade shows. In 1998, Ashley became Eli’s partner, working on the public relations and sales and marketing teams. The presence of Fess and his wife Marcy as the founding visionaries of the winery is a vital and enduring one.
About The Winemaker:
BLAIR FOX – Head Winemaker – Graduating from UC Davis in 1999 with a combined degree in Viticulture and Enology, Blair Fox gained winemaking experience at Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley (1999-2001), and at Haselgrove Winery – a custom-crush winery in McLaren Vale, Australia (2003).
He also traveled through France’s Rhône Valley before returning to his hometown of Santa Barbara. He then joined Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard as Associate Winemaker, overseeing the Rhône varietal wines. Fox had previously consulted in the vineyard for the winery’s 2002 harvest.
“Having focused on the winery’s estate Syrah and Rhône varietal vineyards, I’m excited to add on the responsibility for Ashley’s and Bien Nacido vineyards and control the Burgundian part of our portfolio (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay),” said Fox. “The vineyards and clonal selection here are of such high quality, and the Parkers are a great family to work for.”
Fox continues the stylistic direction set by Eli Parker when capturing the terroir of the vineyards. He aims to continue raising the bar for the award-winning Fess Parker wines, such as the 2001 Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah (91pts, Wine Advocate), 2002 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (93pts, Wine Spectator), and 2001 American Tradition Reserve Syrah, (92pts, Wine Advocate).