McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2018
The 2018 McManis Petite Sirah is full-bodied and rich purple in color. A delicious wine from front to back, leading with aromas and flavors of chocolate, caramel, toffee, and rich black fruit. The mid-palate is driven by mocha notes that carry through to the long, luxurious finish.
The McManis family has been farming in the northern interior region of California since 1938. Fourth generation farmer Ron McManis, and his wife Jamie, founded McManis Family Vineyards in 1990. From the beginning, their mission was simple: every bottle of McManis Family Vineyards should consist of “quality wine at an honest price”. They now farm over 3,600 acres of premium wine grapes from premier growing areas across the state. In 1998, the company designed and built a state-of-the-art winery to produce a range of red and white varietals sourced from ten estate vineyards. All 10 delicious varietals are certified sustainable under Lodi Rules standards and the winery itself is certified under California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. McManis is also the keeper of the third smallest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California. Nestled between the cool confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers, south of Lodi, the River Junction Appellation comprises 1300 acres. The land near the river basin is consistently 2-5 degrees cooler than the surrounding farmlands, combined with the sandy loam soils unique to the area, is ideally suited to growing premium quality grapes. This geographical advantage also provides a more significant diurnal temperature swing – warm days, cooler nights than other vineyards. McManis Family Vineyards grows Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Muscat Canelli in the AVA. McManis Family Vineyards produces its high quality wines using small winery methods. Considered “petite” compared to the size of other facilities in the area, the winery is designed for small lot wine production. As grapes arrive at the winery, they are introduced to two state-of-the-art grape receiving stations outfitted with Delta Stemmer and Bucher presses; the receiving hoppers are equipped with mechanisms designed to slow the intake of grapes, gently handling the incoming fruit. The majority of the tanks are designed to ferment approximately 9,000 gallons of red wine each, and there are several smaller tanks available for blending and fermenting. These innovative methods of winemaking are unique to a winery of this production capacity and produce excellent finished wines meant to be enjoyed when young, with juicy flavors, freshness and balance.
California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.
While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.
The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.
This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!