Kenefick Ranch Petite Sirah 2011
Kenefick Ranch Vineyards are located in Napa Valley’s northern most AVA – Calistoga. The entirety of the Calistoga AVA is underlain by volcanic bedrock and sediments more geologically uniform than other Napa Valley AVAs with valley floor environments. Almost completely of volcanic origin, soils range from rocky, stony loam on the hillsides, to gravelly or cobbly loams on the alluvial fans, and heavier clay-silt soils in the valley center areas. Volcanic soils yield more minerals for limiting nutrients that grapes need and allow for better drainage which is better for root development. Further, thinner volcanic soils lead to less green growth and more concentration of flavor within the berries. As a reputable grower, we’re able to control vine quality and produce consistent flavors and characters within small vineyard blocks.
For nearly 25 years, Kenefick Ranch has sold its grapes to such prestigious labels as Caymus, Joseph Phelps, Shafer, and Pride Mountain. In 2002, Tom retired from neurosurgery and Kenefick Ranch began producing and selling its own portfolio of award-winning wines. And today – complemented by advanced vineyard techniques and state-of-the-art winemaking – Kenefick Ranch is still reminiscent of the working ranch it was during the nascent days of the Napa Valley.
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.