The 2018 Series: Petite Sirah
The Alexander School Reserve wines offer winemaker Kevin Hall the opportunity to deviate from the traditional. In 2018 he selected two small lots of Petite Sirah from one of our favorite growers located about 7 miles north of AVV . Years ago the vineyards were grafted to bud wood selected from an older Petite Sirah vineyard known for inky rich fruit. Today the small valley floor and hillside sites produce tight clusters of tiny pea sized grapes from the head pruned Petite Sirah vines. There are some that think Petite Sirah is just a version of Syrah. But make no mistake this is not Syrah.
The 2018 growing season began a bit cooler than the past few vintages, but we had a near perfect fruit set with moderate summer temperatures and relatively few heat spikes. The mild weather and longer hang time allowed the grapes to ripen slowly. We harvested the two lots for this wine on September 22.
After harvest the grapes were soaked for 24 hours to extract maximum color, then inoculated with yeast and punched down twice a day. After fermentation and pressing, the wine was aged for 20 months in twelve American oak barrels to develop complexity and soften the tannins.
This is an inky dark purple wine with rich and concentrated flavors. Aromas of crushed berries (boysenberry & blueberry) vanilla, dark cherry and dark chocolate fill the glass. There are flavors of blueberry, dark cherry, spice notes of cardamom, and black pepper, along with nice acidity and a long finish. While velvety and lush, this wine has structure and tannins. This wine will surprise and delight you. It is the epitome of the Alexander School Reserve series.
2018: 97 points & Five Stars - Beverage Dynamics / Cheers
2018: 92 points - James Suckling