The 2012 Petite Sirah comes from our Wittstrom Vineyard in the rolling foothills northwest of the city of Paso Robles. Wittstrom Vineyard enjoys optimal growing conditions for mazimizing Petite Sirah's natural peppery character and intense black fruit flavors. The 2012 Petite Sirah belongs to our limited-edition white label series, which signifies small lots of the highest quality expressed through alternative varietals and unconventional blends.
The 2012 Petite Sirah is loaded with heady aromas of black fruits, violets, iodine, vanilla and mocha. A broad, mouthfilling texture delivers velvety flavors of black cherry, blueberry and boysenberry with notes of bittersweet chocolate. Supple tannins are entwined with hints of oak on a long, luxurious finish.
Petite Sirah is an exception for us, as it is our only wine that doesn’t come from our estate Margarita Vineyard. Whereas our other varietals excel amid Margarita Vineyard’s relatively cool growing conditions at the southernmost point of the Paso Robles region, Petite Sirah thrives amid the hotter afternoons at Wittstrom Vineyard to the north. Here, Ancient Peaks Winery co-owner Karl Wittstrom planted 13 acres of Petite Sirah to capture this natural synergy between climate and varietal. Temperature swings of 50 degrees within a 24-hour period are not uncommon at Wittstrom Vineyard during the summer months, demonstrating the daily interplay of inland warmth and incoming marine air. The vineyard rows run west to east to capture the prevailing coastal breezes, further enabling the grapes to achieve balanced ripeness. Wittstrom Vineyard is also planted with progressive high-density vine spacing, resulting in low-yielding vines that produce fruit with dense, rich flavors.
Petite Sirah is the most naturally hedonistic of our wines, but we nevertheless aim to accentuate it with balance and structure. The 2012 Petite Sirah was hand harvested on October 10. The must was pumped over three times daily during fermentation to soften the wine while fostering even extraction. After fermentation, the lots were aged for 23 months in French (65%) and American (35%) oak barrels. The French oak contributes fine vanillin aromatics and spice notes, while the American oak presents creamy coconut undertones. The barrels were made predominantly with medium-plus toasting to complement the Petite Sirah’s intense character with a darker, smokier oak influence. The higher level of toasting also ensures a more moderate tannin influence from the wood. The result is a wine with a big fruit profile and noticeable oak, but with supple tannins and measured structure.