2021 Theopolis Vineyards, Petite Sirah, Estate Grown, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County.
Theodora Lee’s latest Theopolis Vineyards Estate Petite Sirah is out of this world, already a favorite of mine, this inky purple/black 2021 version is on another level with gorgeous depth of black fruits, wild spice, opulent body and savory complexity, making it one of California’s best and most distinctive Petite Sirahs. There’s a heady array of aromatics and flavors that rush at you from the glass with peppered violets, subtle oak toast, blueberry pie and a touch of meaty goodness that leads to well proportioned and youthfully exciting palate of crushed blackberry, damson plum, dark currants, chocolate covered cherry fruits, as well as sandalwood, anise, dried lavender, bacon, peppercorns, graphite and delicate vanilla cream. The tannins play a critical role here and while firm and dry, they are well integrated and almost velvety plush and the cool vintage allowed for incredible ripening, the alcohol is moderate, making for seriously powerful wine, but with exquisite balance and stunning length. The Theopolis Petite Sirah, a true terroir driven wine, again has a thrill ride for the senses and an almost Northern Rhône quality from the mountain fruit, schist like soils and terraces vines, absolutely exceptional. I was completely seduced by this exotic 2021 Petite Sirah, and I recommend decanting and having it with a robust meal, Theodora suggests smoked brisket, BBQ ribs and wild game dishes, all of which, along with lamb, sound great to pair with this one.
As mentioned in my prior reviews, Theodora Lee’s Theopolis Vineyards, one of a hand of black owned wineries, is one of the top sites for Petite Sirah in California, her vines hug steep terraces in the Yorkville Highlands and have received amazing critical acclaim since being established in 2003, with her success first coming from the wines made by Mike Officer at Carlisle, and more recently with Paul Gordon’s Halcon version. Her own wines, which I first started tasting with her 2013 vintage have just got better and better as the vines come into full maturity. Theodora Lee, who has had the help of long time Roar winemaker and Santa Lucia Highlands specialist Ed Kurtzman, has created something remarkably special and their full collection of offerings, which include some small Pinots and more recently some red blended wines, as well as her unique Petite Sirah Rosé and an off dry white made from a rare grape called Symphony, a crossing of, as Theodora notes, Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris. Most recently Lee has added a brilliant cool climate mineral toned stainless Chardonnay to her lineup that looks to impress white Burgundy lovers. The signature Petite Sirah sees about 34% whole cluster and stems in the fermentation, which is done in open top five ton stainless steel vats and gets a cool and lengthy maceration on the skins before being pressed to barrel. The 2021 vintage, only 347 cases made, matured in French oak for close to 22 months with about 29% new wood used and the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
($42 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive