2019 Theopolis Vineyard, Theo-Parra’s Cuvee Cerise, Red Blend, California.
The newest wine in the impressive cast of characters at Theopolis Vineyards is Theodora Lee’s red blend called the Theo-Patra’s Cuvee Cerise, this is a special cuvée barrel selection of Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Petite Sirah, which is the grape that has brought such well deserved attention to this small family winery and their awesome terraced Yorkville Highlands estate vineyard that produces some of California’s most outstanding Petite Sirah grapes and wines, including her own and those of Halcon Vineyards, my absolute favorite example of this varietal in the state. While the Petite Sirah from Theopolis Vineyards is profound, this young red blend is more easy going and a real crowd pleasing effort that is fruit forward, sweet in toasty oak and smooth with a medium body and will go great with BBQ and meaty dishes. The palate is expressive with dark berries, plum and juicy cherry fruits along with the smoky vanilla, dried flowers, a light spicy note and a lingering dark chocolate and framboise note. I think there’s enough there to grow and fill out in areas that are a touch shy still and the oak should tame a little with some more time in bottle, so be sure to decant and or pair it up with foods that will compliment the core fruit.

This Theopolis Vineyards Theo-Patra’s Cuvee Cerise was crafted from small lots of Mourvèdre, Syrah that was co-fermented and the Petite Sirah that was picked and fermented separately all in stainless steel open top fermenters with the Petite Sirah getting about 35% whole cluster, which adds to the complexity here. The grapes were macerated and were manually punched down during the primary fermentation, then the Mourvèdre and Syrah was pressed and racked to small French barriques with just 15% being brand new medium/high toast, with this wine seeing about a year of elevage, while the Petite Sirah saw 12 months in neutral, well seasoned, French barrels, after which the two parts are put together in tank before being bottled. This wine is luscious and heady ripe with a robust 14.9% natural alcohol and is a tasty first blended offering, it delivers what is expected and gains a rewarding mouth feel and sweet tannin (the wine’s backbone), and as noted above you’ll love it even more with, as suggested by Theodora herself, spareribs, braised beef, roast leg of lamb and seared duck breast in cherry or a raspberry reduction sauce. I have really enjoyed watching this small family producer find its groove and seeing Lee’s considerable talent come to life, especially with the fantastic Estate Grown Petite Sirah!
($36 Est.) 89 Points, grapelive

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