Made in an ice-wine style, this elegant late harvest petit verdot opens with aromas of strawberry-guava, tangerine, cherry cough drop, and minerals. Its light body and balanced acidity make the residual sugar an afterthought rather than a dominating factor while the silky texture and delicate mouthfeel generate cloudlike sensations. Red plum, strawberry jam and mango flavors compose the forward palate with tree-ripened fig in the middle, and a delicate finish of pear, apricot and dark brown sugar.
The Paso Robles AVA lies 25 miles inland from the coast with mild conditions in winter, spring and fall. Summers are mostly hot and dry, but a break in the coastal range allows a marine layer to move inland in the late afternoon, lowering temperatures and providing the cool evenings and nights that promote well-balanced grape acidity.
Cira Vineyard lies on Paso’s eastern plateau in well-drained sandy clay-loam soils. The 2001 planting is certified organic and mostly farmed with non-till practices that benefit both grape and environment. Vines are planted on bilateral cordons with 1103P rootstock and Clone 400 petit verdot, yielding three to four tons per acre on average.
Petit verdot bears a slight resemblance to cabernet sauvignon, but the contrasts in aroma and flavor are pushed even further by allowing the fruit to remain on the vine until the final days of the growing season. Late harvest petit verdot is lighter in color than the red-wine embodiment of the grape, but it morphs into a plethora of tropical fruit components not found in the red vinifications.