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Frank Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2014

Petite Sirah from Napa Valley, California
  • WS91
14.5% ABV
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  • WS92
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  • WE90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Benjamin Vineyard is located east of Conn Creek Road in the heart of the Rutherford AVA. Purchased by the Franks in 2012, the 87-acre parcel was formerly known as the Wood Ranch and belonged to Frank “Laurie” Wood, whose family had farmed the property for three generations. Today it is named Benjamin for Rich and Leslie Frank’s youngest grandson. The majority of the 70 planted acres are dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Zinfandel. The vineyard’s location on the valley floor exposes it to long hours of sunshine and cool breezy nights, allowing for slow and steady grape maturation. It is composed of gravelly loam soil as a result of sediment from the Conn Creek and Napa Rivet which flowed through the region thousands of years ago. The S&J Vineyard is made up of 206 acres of land located east of the Vaca Mountains in Napa’s Capell Valley. Purchased in 2000, it is named for Darryl Frank’s children, Stella and Jeremy, and is planted to 58 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with 9 acres of Petite Sirah and 9 acres of Zinfandel. The soils are fertile, well-drained and clay-loam based.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Dark and expressive, with blackberry and sandalwood aromas and deep, polished blueberry, bitter chocolate and toasted spice flavors. Drink now through 2026.
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Frank Family Vineyards

Frank Family Vineyards

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Frank Family Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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Take a trip back in time at the Frank Family Vineyards. First constructed as the Larkmead Winery in 1884, the building was refinished with native sandstone from the nearby hills in 1906 and still stands tall today. The massive stone edifice is considered an archetype of California’s wine country; it appears on the National Register of Historical Places and is listed as a Point of Historical Interest in the state of California.

Owner Richard Frank focuses his energies on making superb still wines. The winery produces Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and several distinctly different Cabernet Sauvignons. The highly regarded Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which is barrel aged for two and one-half years, is emerging as one of the most sought after wines in the valley and their Napa Carneros Vineyards produce some of the finest Chardonnay available. The Sangiovese, a rising star, is created entirely from grapes grown on Rich’s property and the Zinfandel comes from the Brown Vineyards in the Chiles Valley. Once owned by wine legend Hans Kornell, the winery originally secured its reputation with sparkling wines. Five sparkling wines are handcrafted today in the old building: Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, occasionally the Rouge and Reserve. All of these are made in the traditional French methode champenoise style.

Frank Family Vineyards wines are produced in small quantities and currently sold only at the winery and a handful of select retailers. A visit to the winery is not complete without a story-filled tour or at least a walk through the historic building where the thick stone walls, high-stacked barrels and rich bouquet of aging wines create the utmost in winery ambience. The winery provides separate tasting areas for sparkling wines and still wines. Just outside, to the south of the building, visitors are welcome to sit under the giant oak trees, relax at the wooden picnic tables and enjoy spectacular vineyard views.

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Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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Petite Sirah

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With its deep color, rich texture, 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 when it was imported to California from France in 1884. Despite its origins, it has since become known as a quintessentially Californian grape, commonly utilized as a blending partner for softer Zinfandel and other varieties, but also finds success as a single varietal wine. It thrives in warmer spots, such as Lodi, Sonoma and Napa counties.

In the Glass

Petite Sirah wines are typically deep, dark, rich and inky with concentrated flavors of blueberry, plum, blackberry, black pepper, sweet baking spice, leather, cigar box and chewy, chocolaty tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Petite Sirah’s full body and bold fruit make it an ideal match for barbecue, especially brisket with a slightly sweet sauce or other rich meat dishes. The variety’s heavy tannins call for protein-rich and strong flavors that can stand up to the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Don’t get Petite Sirah confused with Syrah—it is not, as the name might seem to imply, a smaller version of Syrah. It is, however, the offspring of Syrah (crossed with an obscure French variety called Peloursin), so the two grapes do share some genetic characteristics despite being completely distinct.

FFVFF14NPS2_2014 Item# 433649