For the Petite Sirah, 2011 produced a mammoth sized wine with youthful mouth coating tannins which cloak the richness inside. This beautiful red rock vineyard features fruit that creates a wine representative of the surrounding environment: aromas of cedar, brush, licorice and dust complement blueberry and plum, followed by flavors of dusty chocolate, blackberry and cherry kirsch with a hint of herb. The acidity and tannin provide a backbone that goes on and on. This is a wine to lay down for a great reward of complexity and richness.
The Diener Ranch is a 10-acre vineyard in the Red Hills district in Lake County. This site possesses incredible deep, rocky, red volcanic soil, and at 2,000’ slopes toward Clear Lake. This hot, sun-drenched climate is tempered in the evening by breezes that come off the lake. The Diener boys tend carefully to this psychotic growing varietal – it’s aggressive in so many ways, but it cringes in too much direct sun. For the highest quality Petite, constant diligence is required. If you turn your back it will bite you.
The 2011 growing season in Lake County was picture perfect. Loads of sunshine and moderated temps allowed for a long hang time to build complexity. We vinify the Diener Ranch beginning with four to five day cold soaks, with 2x daily pump-overs, followed by 2x daily vigorous punch downs. With Petite one of the main challenges is to moderate the tannin profile, so once in the cellar the beatings begin for the Petite with quarterly rackings accompanied with splashing with air to moderate the tannins and integrate the components. In between it rests in 45% new oak barrels for 17 months and then is bottled unfiltered.