Switchback Ridge Wines are sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson family since 1914 and encompasses nearly 100 acres located at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. For over 75 years, the property was primarily maintained as a farm and plum orchard, with vines intermingled amongst the trees. In 1990, the orchards were replanted to vineyard, where there are currently 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah vines, in addition to a three acre 50+ year old Petite Sirah block that John Peterson helped plant as a child.
Learn More About Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah (peh-TEET seer-AH)
Not So Small There is nothing petite about this grape. Petite Sirah, the result of a crossing between Syrah and Peloursin, is also known as Durif. Being the father, Syrah imparted some of its flavors and characteristics to its offspring, but the two grapes are decisively different. Petite Sirah is mostly found in California, where it gained popularity as a blending partner, but has come into its own as a single varietal wine.
Notable Facts A common descriptor for Petite Sirah is inky. And so it is - the dark skinned grape creates wines that are tannic, sturdy, jammy and of course, stain-your-teeth purple. As a blender, the grape helps to add structure and backbone to wines made in not-so-perfect vintages. As a sole variety, the wine typically shows off a peppery spice, with concentrated fruit flavors reminiscent of plums and prunes with notes of cherries and blackberries. The variety continues to gain respect in California for single varietal production and making some delicious and intense wines.
Summing it up Successful Sites: California, South Africa
Common Descriptors: Inky, peppery, prunes, black fruit, leather
Learn More About Napa Valley, California
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.