Three Clicks Wines
2007 Napa Valley Petite Sirah
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: It just clicks
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Continuing our celebration of Women Winemakers, respond to intelligence reports that Three Clicks Wines’ winemaker, Danielle Devlin, has crafted an astonishingly great Petite Sirah. If true, secure the wine and an interview with Danielle
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Three Clicks Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Danielle Devlin
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.
For today’s wine, Agent Red infiltrates Three Clicks Wine to procure their 2007 Petite Sirah, a wine that is much sought after by the winery’s most ardent fans. Read Red’s mission notes and tasting notes below, for the full story on today’s wine – and then read Agent Sparkle’s interview with Danielle!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet with an inky Burgundy heart, a solid and tight looking surface, darkly concentrated purple edges and tightly-spaced legs that take a while to emerge – before they streak down the glass in thin columns
Smell – A big rush of jammy blackberry leads the charge, followed by blueberry, cassis, soft oak and clove, followed by tones of brown sugar, vanilla and black cherry
Feel – Soft and round on initial entry, light-weight at the very tip of the tongue – then a mid-palate grippy dryness makes a bold appearance, coating the mouth with chewy medium to big but still velvety tannins
Taste – Richly layered and highly concentrated flavors of dark stonefruit, jammy mixed dark berries, plum, black cherry, cassis, subtle licorice, soft cedar and oak, capped off with sweet forest floor
Finish – Dry and lush with big dark flavors that begins with slightly tart, and then go sweet as flavors tail off over a long time
Conclusion – Want to know how great this Petite Sirah is? I had to wrestle the bottle away from Agent Sparkle, just so I could pour a few ounces to finish this review! Why? Well, when she’s not enjoying a great glass of bubbly, Agent Sparkle is on the prowl for a great PS. Today’s Petite Sirah from our new friends at Three Clicks is so good that when our Agent Tasting Panel was convened, Sparkle snatched up the bottle after just one sip. At that moment, we knew that we had a winner on our hands. This particular Petite is quite special. Most Petite Sirah that we try are giants that coat the mouth, taking it over. This can make for difficulty in pairing with most foods. Today’s wine doesn’t exactly show restraint, its big and delicious, but it does have a feel and acidity that makes it easier to pair with. In summary, this is a wine of deep character and bold flavors, but it also has enough balance to make it food-friendly.
Special Note – This wine is made by a Double Agent Winemaker! In the course of our infiltration, we uncovered Daniell’s true identity. The Three Clicks label is a covert winery. She also makes wine for Napa Valley mainstay legend, [REDACTED]. At that winery, her name is actually Daniell [REDACTED]. We love the intrigue – and we love Daniell’s wines!
To conclude our special Women Winemaker Week on The Wine Spies, we are proud to present Agent Sparkle’s interview with Danielle Devlin:
AGENT SPARKLE: What inspired you to become a winemaker?
DANIELLE: I fell in love with Winemaking after taking a class at the University of California at Davis my freshman year called “Introduction to Wine.” After one semester I was hooked and declared my major to Viticulture and Oenology. Since then I have never doubted what I was meant to do in life. Make great wine.
SPARKLE: How long have you been making wine?
DANIELLE: My first Harvest was in 1996 at what is now Artesa (back then called Codorniu). I was working in the lab performing analysis on all the juice and wine samples. It was fantastic.
SPARKLE: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
DANIELLE: I believe wine is made in the vineyard. If you don’t have good grapes, then you will not make good wine out of it. I am not a magician. I also believe that the vineyard, its location, and its microclimate determine the type of wine it will be. You can’t force a particular style out of a vineyard. My job as a winemaker is to bring out the best of the vineyard. Not try to force something out of it that it will never achieve.
SPARKLE: Who do you make wine for?
DANIELLE: For myself! I drink more of it than anyone else so I better like it. I just hope someone else does too!
SPARKLE: Do you think that women winemakers have an advantage over their male counterparts?
DANIELLE: Well… women do have more taste buds. That is a proven fact. Beyond that, the proof is in the bottle.
SPARKLE: What is the biggest obstacle you have encountered in your career, and how have you overcome it?
DANIELLE: The biggest obstacle is overcoming the stereotype that women are dainty and not strong enough to drag hoses, lift barrels, or move cases of wine. All things that I do every day in my job. Sure, I love it when someone offers to help me with a task. But I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. Thank you very much!
SPARKLE: Who is your favorite woman winemaker and why?
DANIELLE: Domenica Totty, Winemaker with Beaulieu Vineyards. She is young, successful, and making some Awesome wines for Beaulieu. An inspiration to anyone that wants to be a Winemaker. She can do it all. Red or white wine. She can make any varietal taste spectacular. That is a true talent and why she has gotten to where she is today.
SPARKLE: What is the one question that you would ask another woman winemaker – and what is your answer to that question?
DANIELLE: What is your favorite drink besides wine? I like beer… IPA’s, Belgium, or Dark beers like Guinness. Or a good Bloody Mary. The spicier the better.
SPARKLE: What is one piece of advice that you would give to a woman that is considering a career as a winemaker?
DANIELLE: If you don’t like being covered in grape juice, wine, or dirt everyday…then don’t be a winemaker. This job is not just about drinking wine on the patio, overlooking the Napa Valley, with a beautiful meal in front of you. It is hard work, physically demanding, and very intense. You have one shot to make the wine every year. That requires 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, for over 3 months during Harvest. You will not see your friends, you will barely have time to go grocery shopping. But the end result is a fabulous glass of wine that you made. If you are willing to put up with all that, then you will be a great winemaker.
SPARKLE: In the eyes of consumers and the eyes of those in the wine business, is there gender equality among winemakers?
DANIELLE: Yes. There are more women winemakers out there than you think. You just need to look a little harder to find them.
SPARKLE: What is your current favorite wine?
DANIELLE: Anything Sauvignon Blanc. On a hot summer day a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc with a crisp, clean, finish is just what I need.
SPARKLE: What was the last wine you drank and did you enjoy it?
DANIELLE: I drank a glass of an Old Vine Zinfandel Port. It was juicy, rich, jammy, and delicious.
SPARKLE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DANIELLE: The Three Clicks Petite Sirah goes with just about anything. But I would pair it with some nicely grilled vegetables. Eggplant or asparagus would work. Then throw your favorite meat on the grill. Anything will do. But get some good grill marks on it. Then drizzle a honey/soy sauce over the top. Finish the meal with a bit of chocolate covered strawberries. Delicious!
SPARKLE: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know. I secretly want to go back to school to become a painter. I love drawing and wish that I could create pieces of art with my own two hands.
SPARKLE: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
DANIELLE: What is the one thing I don’t like to buy at the super market that might surprise you? Grapes. I never buy grapes in the super market. I eat so many grapes during Harvest that I just can’t bring myself to buy them. It doesn’t matter what type they are, I just don’t like them!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our wine has aromas of blackberry jam, lavender, blueberries, black currants, and clove. There are undertones of graham crackers, brown spices, and vanilla. The wine is full bodied with a long velvety tannins. It finishes with a beautiful interplay of black cherries and cinnamon. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
The Vineyard: Our 2007 Napa Valley Petite Sirah comes from two small vineyards located in Calistoga. The first, a family run vineyard called Citron, was planted to Petite Sirah in 2004. We work closely with the Citrons throughout the growing season to achieve the best quality fruit for Three Clicks. Our second Petite Sirah source comes from Gary Branham’s Obsidian vineyard. Gary is a well established grower and good friend. He farms his vineyard immaculately, making sure that every vine and every cluster is in perfect condition. We feel honored that both growers trust us with their fruit. We blend the two wines together in early January to achieve a complex and fruit forward expression of Petite Sirah. The 2007 growing season was ideal, with warm spring temperatures, a moderately warm summer and average crop levels. The rocky soils in these vineyards and low water holding capacity yield a highly concentrated Petite Sirah that is rich in boysenberry and blueberry jam characteristics.
The Winemaking: These small lots of Petite Sirah were hand picked, destemmed, and lightly crushed into bins. They were punched down by hand three times daily during the peak of fermentation. Color extraction and tannin were closely monitored to achieve a robust full bodied wine with balanced tannin. The wine was pressed off at dryness, and aged in 33% new French Oak barrels for a period of 15 months. We bottled the wine in January of 2009 with the goal of preserving the fresh fruit character of these vineyards. The wine was released in April of 2009 and bottled under screwcap. We feel this is the best closure for our wines and the wine should age and hold its fruit for a very long time.
About The Winery:
The Story of Three Clicks – According to his own account, Harry Allen Smith, a famous journalist and humorist in the thirties was the first American to legally consume alcohol after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. He claimed to have bribed a telegraph operator to send a “three-click” advance warning just before sending out the message that Prohibition had been repealed. With this notice, he was able to take the first legal drink after the repeal. We honor the ingenuity of that very first legal drink with this bottle of wine.
How We Started – In the beginning we were both eager students studying viticulture and enology. We met in a viticulture class and fell in love. We graduated with Bachelors degrees, and then we traveled together to France, Germany, and Australia to learn how to make the finest quality wine around the world. After a year abroad we both started our winemaking careers at two of the finest wineries in the Napa Valley. Nearly ten years later, we decided to start our own venture together making Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah, and this was the start of Three Clicks wines.
Our Winemaking Philosophy – Three Clicks wines is a collaboration of two winemakers, whose vision and philosophy about wine are simple. We want to make the best quality wine from premium vineyard sources in the Napa Valley. The vineyards were selected for their unique micro climates, soil structure, and combination of rootstocks and clones. The wines made from these grapes are an expression of our diverse experience and years of devotion to wine and winemaking. Ultimately our wines are made for us, the kind of wine two winemakers prefer to drink. We are fortunate enough to be able to produce wines that we like, and then share them with you.
Screw Cap Closures – Three Clicks Wines are bottled exclusively in screw cap closures to ensure that every bottle of Three Clicks wine you drink is the way we intended. We work hard to get the wine into the bottle, and to have it spoiled by a cork, is a chance we are not willing to take. We are purist winemakers, and believe in letting the grapes dictate the wine in a very traditional manner, and would not have this spoiled by something as cosmetic as a closure. Thus we deem we are “giving tradition a new twist”.
Varietals: 100% Petite Sirah
Appellation: 100% Napa Valley
Harvest Dates: Sept. 10 & 11
Bottling Date: Jan. 16, 2009
Production: 160 cases