Tuesday, May 19, 2009

48 hours with Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah 2002

2002 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/17/2009)I've tasted this bottle several times, most recently at the Winemaker Dinner on May 1. The bottles from my cellar seemed much more acidic and out of balance than the bottle from the winery. When I open a bottle of VA at home it rarely lasts a full hour, and I typically just pop & pour. The bottle at the winery had been opened several hours earlier and was more balanced than what I remember. I decided to do an experiment with this wine to see if I might be prematurely judging this wine. I opened the bottle at 6:00 PM Friday and gave it a whirl.

  • 6:00 PM- It was just as I remembered it previously- tight and acidic with muted fruit.
  • 8:00 PM- The acids had diminished a bit and the fruit was starting to show. This drank similar to the bottle from the winery. Still not wonderful, but promising. I’ll stick the cork in the bottle and leave it on the counter overnight.


  • 10:30 AM- I need to keep the experiment going. The nose was much more balanced; the acidic edge is gone. Much more rounded on the palate, the fruit is coming out and the acids have further integrated. The wine is improving, but still has a bit of a medicinal finish.
  • 7:00 PM- The wine has definitely softened, but the acids are still prevalent on the back end- still somewhat medicinal. The fruit is still there, but it might be fading a bit. I’ll pump it overnight.


  • 6:00 PM- The bottle has been opened for 48 hours; time to see if it’s falling apart. The color hasn’t changed; the nose offers feint traces of black cherry. There’s still plenty of fruit on the palate, but the tannins have diminished and the mid palate is a little hollow. There’s still plenty of acid, which still gives the wine a nice long finish. The medicinal notes on the acids have all but disappeared. I can detect a little oxidation on the wine; the experiment needs to end today.

My analysis is that this wine will improve with additional bottle ageing; I would guess 2- 3 years. It should drink well through 2015; the fruit is holding up. (90 pts.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Barrel Sample Tasting Notes

The following wines were tasted on May 1, 2009 from the barrel at the winery:

2006 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Winemaker's Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/1/2009)Barrel tasted at the Winery. Deep dark inky purple color with a nose of blueberries and blackberries. Big soft mouthfeel; a full bodied wine. The tannins are still chewy but will soften with time. Adequate acids to keep the wine lively and vivid. The wine is begining to show complexity and delivers a beautiful long finish. The wine should come into balance nicely with time, but will likely still have rough edges when released in the fall of 2009. My guess is that 2 to 3 years of bottle age will allow this wine to begin showing quite well. (91 pts.)

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Greenwood Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/1/2009)Tasted from a barrell sample at the winery. With a medium red color, the nose was somewhat closed but hints of black cherry prevailed. The wine is currently medium bodied and disjointed. Bright red fruit leads to a medium finish. The score reflects it's current condition, not it's potential. This wine will likely turn lovely with time, but needs about 5 years of ageing after release for the components to integrate. Suggested drinking window 2013-2019. (90 pts.)

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah Rattlesnake Acres - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/1/2009)Tasted from a barrel sample at the winery. The color is dark and brooding; the nose is full of vibrant blueberries. The wine has a soft silky mouthfeel, is big and brawny, and full bodied. Rich black fruit flavors lead to a long finish. Beautifully balanced, this is a powerful wine that's not a fruit bomb. This wine will likely still be quite rugged upon release in the fall of 2009, but within 2 to 3 years should soften to yield a luxurious cuvee. Time should significantly add to the complexity of this wine. Suggested drinking window is 2011- 2020. (94 pts.)

2007 Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/1/2009)Tasting from a barrel sample. Beautiful dark red color (almost black) with nose of blueberries and violets. Big mouthfeel with already supple sweet tannins. Acids are in balance and alcohol seems around 14% (but I didn't inquire). This will be a beautiful finished bottle of wine when released in the fall of 2009. Although it can be consumed young, it will benefit subsatntially from an additional 5 years of ageing. (93 pts.)

Out of this lot I thought the best QPR wine was the regular Petite Sirah- a great wine for the $$.