Spellbound Wines

2005 Reserve Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah

California: Napa Valley

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Mission Codename: Like Magic

Operative: Agent Red – and a Top Secret tasting panel

Objective: Scour the Napa Valley for an exquisite, winery-only Petite Sirah that is worthy of our Operative’s exacting tastes

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Spellbound

Wine Subject: 2005 Petite Sirah Napa Valley

Winemaker: Robert Mondavi, Jr.

Backgrounder: The name Mondavi is instantly known to nearly all who enjoy finer wines. The Mondavi family, and Robert Mondavi winery, have been Napa Valley legend since 1966. When we were offered the opportunity to taste today’s wine – made by Robert Mondavi, Jr., – we were honored. Today’s wine is a beautiful Petite Sirah from the Napa Valley. Agent Red reviewed this wine with a distinguished tasting panel of wine experts from around the country. The covert tasting was held at The Meritage Resort, in Napa, under a shroud of secrecy. Read their tasting notes, below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – A dark, brooding and deeply concentrated purple. Inky and slightly opaque, this wines deep looks is accentuated by the purple coating and skinny legs left on the inside edge of the glass after swirling

Smell – Blackfruit through and through, with pronounced blackberry, black currant, dark plum and black cherry leading the charge. These sit right atop more subtle aromas of cigar, supple leather, clove, nutmeg and softer cinnamon

Feel – Lightweight on initial entry, then the wine digs in as medium tannins take hold, leading to a more medium-bodied feel

Taste – Black cherry, darkest stonefruit, underripe blackberry, and currant. Flavors evolve and emerge as you take additional sips. Soft spice and cocoa also make a tail-end appearance

Finish – Long and also evolving, with flavors that change and emerge as the fruit continues to emerge, and spice and minerals are also revealed

Conclusion – This rich and brightly acidic wine is delicious and fun to pull apart. We found that decanting really coaxes the flavors and aromatics from the wine, so we recommend that you give the wine at least 30 minutes to breath before enjoying. The patient among you will be rewarded with finer fruit, better flavors and deeper aromatics. It was also the consensus of our panel that this wine would be best served with a hearty meal, such as a nice grilled steak. RobMondavi, Jr. continues to impress us with his winemaking skills. Enjoy this wine now, or cellar for the next few years.

Mission Report:

The following is a mission recap, in which Agent Red first becomes acquainted with Robert Mondavi, Jr.‘s Folio wines, which also encompass today’s fantastic Spellbound Petite Sirah:

Certainly you know that the Mondavi family is the stuff of legend in the wine industry. For purposes of this mission report, I won’t delve into the history of the family that has been called “America’s First Family of wine”.

Rather, I will tell you that today’s wine is a superb representation of generations of fine winemaking experience.

Robert Mondavi, Jr., the grandson of family patriarch Robert Mondavi, is certainly influenced by his family’s roots, but he is also very much his own man when it comes to making fine wines.

As President of Winemaking and Partner at Folio Fine Wine Partners, a company he founded in 2004 with his father Michael, and sister Dina, Rob oversees all wine production for the company. His wines, made in collaboration with winemaking partner, Tony Coltrin, himself a wine lifer, are made from the best vineyard sources available. They literally scour the planet to locate grapes that put forth the best expression of their region, their terroir.

The team’s combined experience, when brought to bare on the finest fruit available, produces wines of great deep flavors, style and even fun. Folio’s Hangtime wines are from cooler climates, where grapes experience a longer time on the vine – a longer hangtime, giving them more concentrated flavors and a robust but refined mouthfeel. Like all of Rob Mondavi’s wines, they are also made to convey a real sense of place, by giving you a taste of the very best that the wine growing region has to offer.

Today’s wine comes from a vineyard that our regular Operatives are familiar with, the Mounts Family vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, California. David Mounts is a second generation grower that also makes his own wines. What is so interesting about Hangtime wines and Mounts’ own wines are the differences and the similarities. We’ll be showing Mounts’ syrah in late May, so I really encourage you to save a bottle of two of today’s wine, so that you can compare them. What will such a comparison reveal? That both winemaking styles are unique and both are excellent. You will also find an interesting commonality between the two wines, having been made from remarkably excellent grape.

Today’s wine is delicious and robust, with great balance and a great feel.

Our spy hats are off to you, Rob Mondavi, you and Tony have crafted a really great wine with this Syrah

We can’t wait to taste through your other creations!

Wine Spies Winery Check:

The location of the Folio Winemaker’s Studio, where Agent Red first tasted today’s wine (before sending a bottle to Agent White for today’s review), can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Grown at an elevation of 1000 feet, the vines offer depth, balance and tannin structure unique to Napa Valley, the elevation and terroir lend amazing complexity and lush dark berry flavors, French oak aging imparts flavors of roasted vanilla and delicious spice.

Winemaker notes: Petite Sirah has long been a favorite of mine. My father Michael recalls that I gravitated toward the Petite Sirah grape from a young age, eating copious amounts of berries at the crusher while I was at work with him. The petite sirah grape has it all: intense staining rich black purple hues, amazing black fruit aromatics, and sublime tannins. Petite Sirah’s challenge is refining the tannins. Fortunately, I have been able to talk with my father who made this wine in the 60’s and 70’s, and am able to draw from his knowledge base while applying my own style and ideas. Adding to this, I find interesting parallels with Petite Sirah to Carignon grown in Priorat Spain. Fortunately our good friends have shared ideas on fermentation strategy which I believe has greatly helped our unique and intense Petite Sirah style. My goal with Petite is to create an amazingly complex wine that expresses Napa Valley terroir with flavor and colors that are unique to this varietal.

Vintage: The 2005 vintage was exceptionally long. In fact I never thought it would end, we harvested late into October, with all the Petite being in on the 15th What was most exceptional about this vintage was the even tempo of the ripening and tepid temperatures. I think that this made for the balance in this wine.

The 2005 vintage was a small harvest overall and this indicates smaller berries and more concentrated wines. There were nominal heat spikes and a cool period yet a fairly even harvest once all was said and done. What I liked about the vintage was the small crop and intense flavors. Although 2005 was a longer vintage, the Petite was a bit stubborn and held on making us wait until late into the season to harvest (October 26th) even though most of the other vintners were finished with their harvest, fortunately it was well worth the wait.

How we enjoy Petite Sirah: We love Petite Sirah with food. Of course you can simply have a glass and enjoy the wine on its own, yet wine with family and friends over a bit of food is truly bringing wine to its destiny. What I tend to enjoy with Petite Sirah is nearly anything with forward flavors, savory wild boar with polenta and mushrooms or well aged grilled beef with olive oil and rosemary. But we go well beyond the classics and delve into dishes like porketa, roasted quail or even spicy Italian sausage with tomato sauce and sautéed onions. The key is delicious food and great friends and of course there is always my favorite southern style BBQ.

About The Winery:

“Where are those delicious wines we can drink everyday?”

We hear this from our friends all the time, and in fact, we were guilty of saying it ourselves! So we set out to create wines that are as comfortable watching the sunset as they are celebrating the milestones of our lives.

We also thought a lot about how we would honor the history and heritage of California and its grape growing regions. Our luscious, barrel aged California Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Old Vine Zinfandel reflect those visions. We hope you sense the same enjoyment and feel that hese are wines that will leave you SPELLBOUND.

Rob & Lydia Mondavi

Patti McKiernan

Geoff Whitman

Technical Analysis:

Varietal Blend: 98% Petite Sirah, 2% Zinfandel

Viticultural Area: Napa Valley

Fermentation: Stainless Steel

Alcohol: 13.5%

Production: 150 Cases

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