As we recently mentioned here, Robert Parker retired from his traditional role at The Wine Advocate as primary reviewer and wine critic, and his place was taken by one of his long standing proteges, Antonio Galloni. We have now brought our wines to Mr. Galloni twice, and believe we agree on the quality of our wines. Here is his review of our 2009 vintage, now available.

I had a chance to revisit the 2009 and 2010 (vintages) both of which were just as fabulous as they have always been. Carver Sutro's 2009 Petite Sirah Palisades Vineyard wraps around the palate with layers of highly expressive dark red fruit. The fruit remains quite primary, while more complexity needs to develop in bottle. Sweet floral notes add lift on the finessed, delicate finish. This is a remarkably polished wine, even if it is not especially varietal. Today, the 2009 is pure, silky and impeccably finished. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.
Score: 95

In The Vineyard: Snakes and Rain

We have always kept cats. Until recently, we've had 5 battle-worn, tough cats who patrol the vineyard and keep down the gophers, mice and moles. Without the little rodents, the rattlesnakes have little to hunt and tend not to hang around. But, in the last couple of years the coyotes have taken 4 of our cats. Not coincidentally, we've seen more snakes. In fact, when a crew was thinning the fruit in our head-trained vines, twice on the same day they pushed their arms into a vine where a rattlesnake was hunting for birds' nests. Imagine the shock! We're in the market for more cats...

2011 has been an unusually challenging year in the vineyard. Cold and late rain persisted through the first week in June. Typically, the clusters bloom just about that time. And, each delicate flower requires about 10 days of gentle conditions to move from a flower to a self-pollinated, tiny grape. Many of the Cabernet vineyards in the valley had moved to bloom the previous week, and many of those vineyards experienced strong "shatter" (failure of the flower to "set" a grape). Friends are bemoaning losses of 20 - 50% of their crops. In this respect, we at Palisades Vineyard were very fortunate... our bloom took place literally starting the day after the last rain.

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