2016 Halcon Vineyards, Petite Sirah “Tierra” Theopolis Vineyard, Yorkville Highlands.
The very sexy, almost Northern Rhone style, cooler climate Halcon Petite Sirah comes from the Theopolis Vineyard, a high elevation site that was planted in 2003, it’s a vineyard that is just hitting it’s groove, and really getting into that perfectly mature stage. This 2016 was picked October 11th, Theopolis Vineyard continues to demonstrate that it is on the edge of ripening for Petite Sirah, but ultimately a seriously rewarding site for this grape, being more than rather late to make a drier and fresher style version of this grape, the long hang-time gave complexity of flavors and nicely ripe fruit. As in 2015 Halcon’s winemaking team went for 50% whole-cluster and aged the Petite Sirah in neutral French oak puncheons, and this is really the secret of success here, making a wine of fresh detail, stem inclusion tension and lifted aromatics, this is special stuff. Paul Gordon deserves a lot of credit it crafting this wine in this unique style that will remind those drinking this gorgeous wine of a fine Cornas, it is total class and thrilling in the glass, this Tierra is also bottled unfined and unfiltered for authentic purity. This deep purple and garnet hued Petite comes in at a finely balanced 14.1% natural alcohol, in fact it feels slightly lower, though the palate does expand with time and air, filling out and adding dimension over an hour of opening. Just about 150 cases of the Halcon Tierra was made and if you want to taste one of California’s absolute best and exotic Petite Sirah(s) you better get on it quickly, as it has way of disappearing fast. The 2016 Tierra feels a touch lighter on it’s feet than the 2015, but overall very similar with vine picked blackberry, dusty currant, plum and tangy blueberry fruits, a stemmy briar bite, a mix of spices, dried herbs, anise and some subtle floral notes, mineral and youthful/gripping, but sweet tannins. This wine is full and complete with potential to get even better over the next 3 to 5 years, what a great set of wines Halcon has put out, especially their estate Syrah of course, but their Pinot Noir offerings and this Tierra Petite are also exceptional, these are wonderful values too, get on Halcon’s list.
($32 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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