Sure. First of all, the notion of “noble” varieties has always struck me as racist nonsense. Any grape will behave ignobly if planted in the wrong place. There is nothing noble about Cabernet Sauvignon from most places in France, and the same goes for the vast majority of Italian Nebbiolo.
Petite Sirah (originally Duriff) is certainly ill-suited to its original provenance, where its thin skin and tight cluster commonly provoke bunch rot in the humid conditions of its native Rhone Valley, thus introducing contagion into fermentations which stick and go to vinegar, a condition known as vin piqué. It needs dry air and lots of UV radiation, which we have at DRV in spades.
As those of you who took advantage of our sale on the DRV 2010 PS last month can attest, we end up with incredible color and richness, and our lake effect also retains intense blueberry and lavender aromatics. PS does so well here that sometimes we feel we should just tear out the whole vineyard and replant the whole thing to PS.
Jake’s assignment to me was to make a wine that showcased all aspects of our vineyard palate. In all fairness, this massive wine does have a tendency to dominate blends, and it was a bit of a challenge to find the right combination of Cabernet Sauvignon clones and the right percentages of Cab Franc and Merlot to balance its mere 14%. But at that small percentage, it also played a structural role similar to Petite Verdot. While I realize that this departure disqualifies us from Meritage status, you’ll find the result classically elegant as any Bdx-style blend should be.