2012 Castle Rock Lodi Petite Sirah


Producing low-priced wine is not difficult in California – as long as one uses undistinguished central valley grapes. Yet Castle Rock Winery sells premium, handcrafted wines from the best appellations in California, Oregon and Washington at prices that match those wines labeled “California.” Castle Rock Winery’s secret to providing “appellation wines at affordable prices” is to operate as a kind of “virtual winery,” owning neither its own vineyards nor a winery. Instead it maintains close, long-term relationships with around forty growers in such areas as Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley and Colombia Valley and leases state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in all three states. Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs works closely with the growers to ensure they produce the best quality fruit while overseeing the winemaking at the same time. This unique method of operating allows Castle Rock to avoid the “money pits” of land and fancy buildings that sink many wineries and focus everything on securing the best grapes and crafting delicious wines. Since the beginning in 1994, Castle Rock has focused particularly on Pinot Noir, making distinct bottlings from such key Pinot districts as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley. However, over the years the winery has also branched out into other popular varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Riesling. Though an oft-repeated wine country adage goes, “it takes a fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business,” Castle Rock Winery has shown there is a way to make captivating wines for the discerning drinker without deep pockets. 


With a history that goes back to the 19th century, Lodi has started reclaiming its reputation for fine wine after many decades of being ignored by wine aficionados. Featuring a true Mediterranean climate, the AVA is staking its reputation on the California classics: Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. Though having all but disappeared from its French homeland, Petite Sirah (a.k.a. Durif) has been a mainstay in California – whether in the “field blends” of the pioneers or as a varietal wine more recently. Black-skinned and high in tannin and acidity, it can add structure and freshness to Zinfandel, or it can be made into a hearty, age-worthy varietal wine loaded with perky dark fruit and spice. Castle Rock’s Petite Sirah is dark, full-bodied, deeply concentrated and delicious. What value! Try it with grilled meats, hearty stews or pasta.


Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in oak barrels. 

Tasting notes

Dark purple and opaque in the glass. Aromas of ripe berries, coffee and spice precede a luscious mouthful of ripe cherry, blackberry and plum. The finish is long with well-integrated tannins.  


Lodi (Central Valley)


Petite Sirah