2007 Deviant Velocity Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah • Ripken ‘Guard Rd. Block’
What we say
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Mission Codename: A Constant Deviant Velocity
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Sheldon Wines and procure their the new release of their Deviant Velocity Petite Sirah, a 2007 that is one of their most popular wines.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sheldon Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Deviant Velocity Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Dylan Sheldon
Backgrounder: Petite Sirah’s California roots dates back to when it was believed to be a close relative of the Syrah grape. Later it would be found to be genetically identical to the Durif, named for its after French discoverer François Durif who found that the varietal was a Syrah grape pollinated with Peloursin flowers. Its smaller berries with higher skin to pulp ratio leads to more intense flavors. Another benefit of the smaller berries are tighter clusters that are more resistant to mildew. Currently Petite Sirah is less popular in France and increasingly popular in the United States
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby red hues, with a darker heart. This darkly foreboding wine is only slightly, not inky-black like some California Petite Sirah. After a hearty swirl, skinny, janky tears form branching chains as they move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Heady, sweet and lush with a plethora of exciting aromatics. Sweet cherry cordial and rustic spice mingle with earthy, dusty bramble, black cherry, dried fall leaves, fresh tobacco leaf, and a subtle hint of lavender all provide a rich fullness on the nose.
Feel – Soft and cool at the tip of the tongue, the wine races across the palate, eventually settling onto the mid-palate. There, fine-grained tannins give the wine a plush feel that slowly telegraphs to the edge of the palate. Eventually, lips and cheeks are well-coated with tannin and flavor.
Taste – Dark and bold with tart red cherry, wild strawberry, young raspberry and red currant out in front. These are closely followed by dark cocoa powder, black currant, spice, dried violets and cracked pepper.
Finish – Very long, softly drying and packed with red fruit flavors, that gradually yield to black fruit, spice, minerals and dried dark flowers. After all of the fruit has faded, cracked pepper can be felt along the gumline.
Conclusion – After too long of a hiatus, I am so pleased to welcome Sheldon Wines back to our pages. Today’s 2007 Deviant Velocity Petite Sirah is a very unique and very delicious wine that most would fail to recognize as a Petite Sirah. In fact, the winery leaves the varietal off of the front label, relying on the name of the wine to intrigue people and draw them in for a taste. According to Tobe Sheldon, most people taste the wine and then fall in love. When they learn that it is Petite Sirah, their eyes go wide. This is not to say that the wine is unlike a Petite Sirah – but it is a little different. It does deviate slightly, from the norm, by delivering a much brighter, more red experience than the darker, deeper purple flavors of many a Cali Petite. This very approachable wine represents remarkable balance and we love it!. Don’t miss out on this very drinkable, very food-friendly wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Sheldon Wines Tasting Room, in Santa Rosa, California, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points – Grapelive – This remarkably elegant and vibrant red is unbelievably 100% Petite Sirah from near Lodi, but such is the deft winemaking that you’d almost never guess the grape or region, even though it is worth mentioning that the vineyard site is completely unique as it is limestone soil and sits below sea level. All of these factors shine through of this medium weight Rhone like wine that shows bright blueberry, tangy boysenberry and juicy plum fruits with pepper and sweet spices along with hints of briar, mineral and bitter chocolate. This wine dances on the palate and lingers well on the finish with just a hint of tannin. This under 14% wine is well balanced and has all come together nicely and should drink gracefully for many years to come, this is a truly special example of Petite Sirah.
About This Wine:
Deviant Velocity is a change in speed or direction. If Calamity Jane had been a sexy, well- mannered woman that took the Wild West by storm as much from her elegance as her panache for wearing pants in a petti-coat world, she would have been the perfect example.
Wine Making: Certified Organic Vineyard (Lodi Green is a unique designation that also takes care of vineyard workers). This vineyard is 19ft below sea level on limestone soils in the Sacramento Delta. This unique microclimate produces an evening breezes and early morning fog cooling the grapes after long warm sunny days. This site is often ten to fifteen degrees cooler than much of the Lodi AVA; the perfect combination for building complexity and tastiness. Hand harvested and naturally fermented with indigenous yeast and wild yeast isolated from the Rhone Valley in ½ ton open top fermenters. We implemented a long cool ferment punching down the must by hand four times daily. Gently basket pressed into neutral French oak barrels and bottled without fining or filtration.
About The Winery:
In the spring of 2000 I was working as a winery grunt intern on the other side of the World, Margaret River in Western Australia to be exact…hand loading clusters of Estate grown Chardonnay, into an old Champagne press. I’d been working over 90 hours a week for as long as I could remember, eaten more Vegemite sandwiches than I could count, I was a bruised, bee-stung, sticky, & exhausted mess… I had an ear to ear grin through it all. After the last grapes were pressed, the crew was headed out on the town for a well deserved pint! “Oi!… there’s a phone call for the Yank!” The tasting room staff shouted out. An old friend had tracked me down with a job offer. There was an opportunity to open a Wine Bar back in Carmel, California, with a side gig teaching wine appreciation classes, was I interested? After vintage I returned to the States and took up the offer.
“Cepage” Wine Bar opened late in the Summer of 2000. “If you build it they will come…” Enter: Tobe Weatherly, a recent transplant to the area, after a decade of studying geology in Boise Idaho (and sneaking in 100+ days a year of skiing). Tobe became a regular at “Cepage”, it was soon discovered that we shared a similar palate, and passion for itinerary-free travel. Just a few months after coming to the Monterey Peninsula she started talking about an extended trip. She knew I had worked overseas in wineries & came by regularly to ask questions. I thought this was a great idea for her, I gave it the hard sell…it worked so well I convinced myself too!
We started planning our own separate trips to work vintage. I had sent out resumes’ to New Zealand and had talked to Tobe about places she might want to visit, and how to get on as an intern at a winery. As we became better friends we talked about maybe meeting up somewhere in Australia, New Zealand, you know… if it happened to work out that way. My resume got passed around in New Zealand until it reached Gordon Russell @ Esk Valley Estate winery in Hawkes Bay. I was offered a position for the 2002 vintage, which I gladly accepted. I mentioned I had a friend looking for an intern position, and he said “sure thing, we can always use another set of hands!” So two separate trips became one.
We shared a flat at the winery with the other crew members, and worked side by side for months under difficult conditions, often wet, cold, tired and hungry. We loved every minute of it, the barrel work, the crush work, monitoring the vineyards, all of it. And most importantly that we were doing the work with each other. Some would call it serendipity.
Tobe and I were married on a sunny afternoon May 1st, 2002, surrounded by vines turning to brilliant fall colors, barefoot in the ‘Terraces Vineyard’ overlooking the winery at Hawkes Bay. The next 6 months were spent traveling and studying the wine producing regions through nearly a dozen countries. We returned to the States to start our own fledgling wine label, never mind that we didn’t have a winery, or equipment, or grapes, or funding for any of it!
The Universe seemed to conspire to help us along the way, we were able to lease an empty winery, & borrow an old basket press. We each worked two full time jobs, auctioned off the wine cellar, sold our cars, & pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down to fund the first vintage, which produced 420 cases from 2003. In 2004 we ramped up production to just over 700 cases, and in 2005 we broke into the 1,000 case mark. We’ll be staying a small two person operation, to be able to know what’s going on in every row of every vineyard we use, to sort each cluster by hand, to focus on the subtle nuance of every individual barrel. For us, winemaking is not about aggressive manipulation or beverage manufacturing. Winemaking at Sheldon Wines is about building the aromas & flavors in the vineyards, then ushering them from grape to glass. In other words…“Get the best fruit possible, listen very carefully to what it has to say & don’t screw it up!” And most importantly, to never forget, that we are Alive…Awake…Free…most likely delusional.
Varietal: 100% Petite Sirah
Vineyard: Ripken ‘Guard Rd. Block’
Fermentation: ½ ton open top fermentors.
Cooperage: 100% Neutral French Oak
Production: 325 cases / May 18th, 2008
Released into the Wild: May 1st, 2012