Once & Future 2018 Petite Sirah, Palisades Vineyard, Calistoga
Item Number: 14504
Sub Region: Napa Valley
Estate Grown Wine: No
Vineyard Designation: Palisades Vineyard
Grape(s): Petite Sirah
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Soil Type: Cobbly loam soil
Vintage Notes by Vinous 4/2020: "I was super-impressed with the 2018s from Joel Peterson's Once & Future. The 2018s are wonderfully vibrant, focused and full of character. In many ways, Peterson has returned to his roots from his early days at Ravenswood. The wines are made in open-top wood fermenters and handled minimally in the cellar. Quality is really driven by site, and no one knows these vineyards better than Joel Peterson. His boyish enthusiasm and humility are truly remarkable for someone who has had such a long and illustrious career. I can't recommend these wines highly enough." - Antonio Galloni
Joel's Tasting Notes: The 2018 Petite Sirah is very dark and deep both in color and in flavor. Black currents, black berries and black pepper rule nose and palate. Surprisingly soft and balanced in the finish.
California Petite Sirah: There’s a good reason that, until the 1960s, Petite Sirah was the most widely planted grape variety in Napa Valley. As is shown by the few remaining examples, grown in the right places, it does very well there. It makes lovely, evocative wine even darker and spicier than Zinfandel. If Napa had only had the guts to stick with Petite through the renaissance that transformed California wine, it would have been a more distinctive and interesting choice (not to mention better value) upon which to hang one’s regional hat than today’s dictatorial monarch, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Palisades Vineyard: Tucked into a narrow riparian canyon just east of the town of Calistoga, at the foot of the magnificent Palisades cliffs is Petite Sirah heaven. The cobbly loam soil of the alluvial fan is perfect for the variety. Hot summers, cool westerly morning breezes, extended sunlight and adequate winter rainfall bless the fruit with exceptional concentration and depth. Viticulture here dates back to 1878, when James Horn, a settler from Scotland, first planted grapes; in 1908, Domenico and Gilda Barberis, recent arrivals from Italy, planted more vines along Horn’s Creek. Seven years later, they established “Bonded Winery Number 118” on the site.
Sadly, despite a capacity of more than 20,000 gallons the winery didn’t survive Prohibition and closed down in 1932. The vineyard, however, survived. Continuing to farm it until 1992, Domenico and Gilda’s son Frank planted Petite on St. George rootstock in 1968 and again in the mid-70s. In the 90s the property was bought by Anne Carver and Denis Sutro who farmed the property, preserved the Petite Sirah, and preserved the beautiful character of the Palisades by putting the 500 acres directly below the massif into a land trust. In 2015, Felicia Woytak and her husband Steven Rasmussen, who thankfully had the soul and character (not unlike petite itself) to ignore the prevailing commercial formula, choosing to respect and preserve the site’s heritage. Committed to organic horticulture, they’ve retained Jim Munk to manage the place’s traditional dry farming and head-trained viticulture.