2023 “Pezsgő” Sparkling Petite Sirah
Our Petite Sirah Pét-Nat was indeed a happy little accident. In 2020, when we started our “Rabbit Hole” adventure by pushing our limits and trying new things. We originally started with the idea of a Pét-Nat made from Syrah. So, as a team building exercise, our Base Camp crew went up to Obsidian Ridge Vineyard to pick a ton of Syrah for us at the cellar.
When the fruit came in that day, one look at the picking bin and our R&D Winemaker, Casey Graybehl, knew that this was not Syrah. The crew had mistakenly picked a block of our Petite Sirah. Those two things are not the same. Petite Sirah is known for really big and tannic wines that have a propensity to go reductive during fermentation. All things that are the antithesis to a fun, chuggable Pét-Nat. But we never shy away from a challenge, so we pressed it lightly, whole cluster, and squeezed gently to minimize tannin and color pick-up in the juice and ended up with an amazingly fun little wine.
We continue to make it the same way, with a tweak here or there over the years. The juice was allowed to slowly warm in our cellar until spontaneous fermentation began. No sulfur, no additives. The wine is closely monitored until we hit just the right Brix level. Too little and there’s no bubbles. Too much and you have to wear safety glasses to open a bottle. When that magic moment occurs, it’s time to bottle. No fining or filtering, this wine is as it came from the vineyard, with minimal intervention. Just as nature intended. This is the “Ancestral Method” of making sparkling wine, aka Pétillant Naturel.
Everything about this wine is joyful: giddy bubbles, effusive berry-licious aromas, full flavors that evoke memories of a big mouthful of Hubba-Bubba chewing gum. Only with ripping acidity to help tame those wild bubbles and balance the raw ripe cherries on the palate. Guaranteed to make you smile. And prove once and for all, that some ‘mistakes’ are not mistakes at all but opportunities. And who’s crazy enough to make a Petite Sirah Pét-Nat? Well, we are.
Casey Graybehl, Winemaker