2016 Theopolis Vineyards, Petite Sirah, Estate, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County.
Theodoa Lee’s flagship wine is her estate grown Theopolis Vineyard Petite Sirah from the remote and terraced site in the Yorkville Highlands, it’s a lavish and soulful expression this place and grape with an ultra dark purple/crimson color and full body. With the ex Roar and August West winemaker Ed Kutzman helping out here this winery is going from an under the radar adventure to a serious and stylish contender with some great press and wonderfully expressive wines, with this Petite Sirah being a wine of particular interest to the grape’s most rabid followers. This vineyard is producing some fantastic grapes, it’s unique combination of soils and weather make for something incredible both in Theodoa’s own wines and in the wines made by Paul Gordon of Halcon Vineyards, who’s version with lots of cluster are more like Cornas than those of the likes of Turley or Biale who make some of California’s best examples and of which I think is my all time favorite Petite Sirah.
That said, the Theopolis version is absolutely great as well, though more in what you’d expect from a premium California version with loads of chocolatey rich fruit, polished tannins and warm oak notes leading the way, but it also has plenty of complexity too. In fact this 2016 is much more intriguing than the past years with more aggressive nature with a vast array of spices and closer to the Halcon in finished form with layers of white pepper, anise and dried basil notes to give a touch of savory to the decedent fruits which come through with blackberry, blueberry, cherry and tangy currants as well as sweet new leather, tobacco/cigar wrap, dark coco and mint, a hint of sandalwood and dried violets. I like this 2016 a lot, its slightly more wild or feral than the 2015 and it is the better for it adding a thrilling dimension to an already good wine and making it great!
This vintage of Theopolis Petite Sirah was fermented in small bins, with manual punched downs, with a lengthy maceration and primary fermentation then it was raised in 25% new and 75% neutral French oak barrels for about 22 months, then as always, it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The last sip revealed lingering sticky lavender oil, cassis and lively tannic grip that went on for ages, so best to enjoy with robust cuisine and or decant if you want to drink it young, best guess window now through 2028.
($39 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive