Coquerel Wines Petite Sirah 2011
Years ago, while visiting the Napa Valley, they decided the time was right to make their own wines. Coquerel was born. (The name Coquerel is an archaic French derivation of their family name - Cockerell.)
In 2005, they purchased a vineyard in Calistoga planted to old-vine, dry-farmed Sauvignon Blanc. In 2008 they acquired the adjacent site that was planted to a handful of traditional varieties rarely found in modern-day Napa. Since then they have revamped, replanted and upgraded their property to luxury-class winegrowing standards.
Conquerel's estate “Walnut Wash” vineyard sits in the afternoon shadows of the Mayacamas Mountains at the north end of Napa Valley in the Calistoga AVA. The site is warm and protected and features a mix of deep clay and stony soils. There are currently seven acres planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho, Petite Sirah and Tempranillo. In 2014 they added four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Under the guidance of winemaker Christine Barbe, this vineyard is intensely farmed for low yields and high quality. The unique conditions and favorable terroir produces exceptional fruit each vintage.
On the winemaking front, Christine has had a dramatic impact on the quality and style of Coquerel’s wines. All of their bottlings are handmade in small lots to ensure character and authenticity. The whites are bright, crisp, elegant and well structured. The reds are intense, aromatic, harmonious and lush. Complexity, concentration, balance and minerality are the hallmarks of Conquerel's wines.
One of Napa Valley’s oldest wine growing subregions but last to gain appellation status, Calistoga occupies the northernmost section of the valley. Beginning at the foot of Mount St. Helena, its vineyards stretch over steep canyons and roll out onto the valley floor. The soils in Calistoga are volcanic, which means they are heavy in minerals, low in organic matter and allow good drainage for vine roots, creating less green growth and more concentration of flavor within the grape berries.
Summer days are very hot but most nights cool down with moist ocean breezes sneaking in over the Mayacamas Mountains or from Knights Valley to its northwest.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the area’s star variety with Zinfandel coming in a strong second, though the latter commands far less price per tonnage so continues to be outshined by Cabernet in vineyard acreage, save for some important exceptions.
With its deep color, firm tannins and bold flavors, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The variety, originally known as Durif in the Rhône, took on its more popular moniker after being imported to California in the early 1880s. Quintessentially recognized today as a grape of the Golden State, Petite Sirah works well blended with Zinfandel and finds success as a single varietal wine in the state’s warmer districts. Somm Secret—Petite Sirah is not a smaller version of Syrah but it is an offspring of Syrah and the now nearly extinct French Alpine variety called Peloursin.