Ehlers Estate Petit Verdot 2011
The Ehlers Estate vineyard is located on an historic winegrowing site in the northern part of Napa Valley’s acclaimed St. Helena appellation. Grapes have been cultivated on this coveted site since the mid-1800s. The vineyard was replanted using a diversity of clone and rootstock selections under the guidance of renowned enologist Jacques Boissenot in 1995. Today, the Ehlers Estate vineyard, which is the source of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc, is farmed with strict adherence to organic farming standards.
The vineyard benefits from a unique Old World layout that is quite rare in California. The historic Ehlers winery building is located in the center of the contiguous estate vineyard. The farthest point on the property from the winery is approximately 600 yards, allowing the Ehlers team to have complete control over every aspect of the viticulture program, leading to greater focus and quality.
St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley, nestled between Calistoga to the north and Rutherford on its southern border. On its western side, the Mayacamas Mountains guard it from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean; to its east stand the Vaca Mountains. In conjunction, these mountain ranges serve to lock in summer daytime heat. But in the evening, cool air from the San Pablo Bay funnels up through the valley, creating very chilly nights. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to drop 50 degrees, a shift that promotes a balance of sugar ripeness and acidity in wine grapes.
St. Helena contains a plethora of different soil types in a small area, which have been enhanced over centuries by rain runoff from both mountain ranges. Its vineyards cover a variety of terrain, spreading across the bucolic valley floor and its benchlands.
These ideal topographic and climatic growing conditions easily caught the attention of early winemaking pioneers. In fact, St. Helena is the birthplace of Napa Valley’s commercial wine industry. Dr. Crane founded his cellar in 1859, David Fulton in 1860 and Charles Krug in 1861.
Today there are no less than 400 separate vineyards planted within the 12,000 acres that make up the St. Helena appellation.
One of the original Bordeaux varieties, Petit Verdot has a bold structure, color and aromas, which allow it to make a significant difference in Bordeaux Blends—even in modest amounts. While it isn’t planted in Bordeaux in great quantities anymore, its virtues are increasingly identified elsewhere. Somm Secret—Producing phenomenal single-varietal wines in hot and dry locations in the New World, Petit Verdot also finds a happy home in parts of Spain as well as in in Portugal’s Alentejo where it gracefully blends with the regions' indigenous varieties.