Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirahs are some of the most amazing wines being made anywhere. Here is one of the few rare cases where hedonistic Napa ripeness is combined with impeccable acidity and tone. The balance of these wines is astounding, and their aging potential massive. To borrow a description I saw on Cellar Tracker, almost every Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirah is a masterpiece. Compliments of a research scientist here in Astronomy Department, I have been spoiled by gifts of many Vincent Arroyo wines, including over a case he decided to cull from his cellar this past December. In that batch, I realized I had all four of the PS bottlings from the 2004 Vintage. So, I offered to do a horizontal with a friend (and former wine shop owner) in Wichita, and told him to invite some folks who would appreciate it. This took place just before Christmas, so these notes are a bit tardy. In short, it was one of the most amazing line ups of wines I've ever had the pleasure to drink, and being the generous sort he is, my friend threw in a few other impressive wines.
Joel Gott, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2010
Tart and Sauv Blanc-like, but with PG's creamy minerality. *** [12/21/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2004
Nearly opaque ruby. Awesome nose: heady, with cherry, blackberry, roses, orange zest, allspice, clove, smokey stone, and a bit of tobacco and leathery earth (Napa's signature). Similar on the palate, with fabulous, dense, rich, juicy fruit. Some apricot; mineral, spice, lots of clove. Freaking amazing! Young, but very expressive. Coming back to it some time later, holding up well, with incredible density. Accessible, but better in 5 - 10 years, and will last for up to 15 - 20 years. **** [12/21/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Greenwood Ranch, Napa Valley 2004
Almost opaque ruby. Dense nose, with black cherry, blackberry, currant, orange rind, violets/roses, apricot, stone, mineral/iron filings, vanilla, toast, not much tobacco, cumin, and forrest floor. Similar on the palate, though not as expressive, but very dense, with hints of asian pear, apricot, tomato, and spicy mineral. 10 to 15 years or more ahead of it. **** [12/21/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Rattlesnake Acres, Napa Valley 2004
Impenetrable ruby/purple. The nose is totally different than the 2004 Greenwood Ranch, with black fruits (cherry and blackberry), briar, tomato paste, orange rind, pomegranate, black grapes, a hint of tobacco, bell pepper, and stone/iron filings. And the palate: amazing!!!!! Ripe, juicy fruit, amazing density, tone, and aromatic expression. Hides its 16% abv well. 20 years ahead of it, will be alive in 30. The greatest Californian wine I have ever had. ***** [12/21/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Winemakers Reserve, Napa Valley 2004
Dark ruby. On the nose, blackberry, currant, and smoke. On the palate, dense, ripe blueberry, black currant, and ripe cranberry, tobacco leaf, tomato, orange rind, and stone, and roasted pepper. Firm, with Italianate acidity. Great stuff. A little hot at first. Needs 5 years, and can last 10 - 20 more years. **** [12/21/11]
Fonseca, Vintage Port 1985
Dark ruby. Lovely nose of brandy, blueberry, raisin, violets/roses, and caramel. On the palate, sweet cherry, blueberry, caramel, pretty, sweet, red fruit, some tar and smoke, raisin, and hints of fruitcake. Beautiful, rich sweet fruit. 10 - 20 year or more still ahead of it. *** [12/21/11]
Far Niente, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley 2002
Dark, almost opaque ruby. Black cherry, blackberry, orange rind, and brett, with Napa typicite of tabacco and earth. This is a very good, polished wine, but needs food, and may have suffered from the proceeding lineup of very ripe wines. On the other hand, it might simply not be my sort of thing. 5 - 10 years ahead, maybe longer. *** [12/21/11]
And to round that out, three more Vincent Arroyo Petite Sirahs and one Imagery PS, also from the same batch of wines given to me by my extravagantly generous colleague.
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2005
Dark purplish-red. Awesome nose (!) of black cherry, lush blackberry, currant, a hint of roses, tobacco, smoke, and leathery earth - smells like Napa! A bit tight on the palate at first, with black cherry, lush blackberry, blueberry, currant, flowers, tobacco, smoke, earth, and iron. Fruitcake notes emerge near the very end of the bottle. Hedonistic but elegant, like a Rhone. Awesome stuff. Should improve for another 5 years, and drink well for 5 years after that. A second bottle wasn't quite as forward and may have been a bit corked or just bretty - but still excellent. **** [12/11/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Greenwood Ranch, Napa Valley 2005
Very similar to the regular 2005 PS, but more polished, with richer, liqueur-like blackberry fruits, orange rind, tar, and vanilla. Clearly a lot of effort went into this. Quite hedonistic and polished, but I prefer the regular bottling for its elegance. Also doesn't reveal as much with air as the regular bottling does. But make no mistake, this is outstanding. Drink over the next 5 years. **** [12/13/11]
Imagery, Petite Sirah, Artist Series, Paso Robles 2003
Heady, dense nose. Blackberry, blueberry, lots of cassis, some orange rind, minty herbs, and autumnal notes. Tasted twice: first one outstanding, second a little tired. Excellent PS, but winding down. Drink soon. *** [12/23/11]
Vincent Arroyo, Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2003
Dark ruby. Very nice Napa nose of dark fruits, tobacco, roses, leathery earth, and brett. On the palate, black cherry, blackberry, currant, orange rind, damson, roses, and earth, plus some autumnal notes as it opens. With air, a lovely drink. Tasted 3 times, revealing a bit of variation in fruit density and evolution, but all holding well, and should continue as such for 5 more years, but there's no need to wait. *** [12/24/11]
Still to come in the not-to-distant future, the 2005 Rattlesnake Acres, and a revisiting (after 2 years) of the awesome 2003 Winemaker's Reserve.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)