Girard Winery has been producing in Napa Valley for more than 40 years, focusing on the big reds iconic to this area. While the winery is long on tradition, it also has an experimental edge. It’s zinfandel and petite sirah wines are intriguingly aged in fusion barrels made by integrating 1/3 each of Hungarian, French and American oak.
We recently received four wines, all from the 2018 vintage, to try. Let’s dig in.
2018 Girard Petite Sirah Napa Valley – 90% petite sirah, 10% zinfandel. A dense, extracted wine, this bottling pours on the inky, brooding fruit, showing on the palate as almost tarry at times. Notes of raisin, almost pruny, give way to dark chocolate on the thick, heavy, and unctuous midpalate. This wine could easily benefit from some acidity to liven up what can be a gummy, weighty body, its cherry-laced finish showing more as reduced preserves than fresh fruit. That, however, is often how it goes with petite sirah. B / $30
2018 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Surprisingly beautiful, this cabernet pours on the density with notes of extracted currant, plum, and black cherry notes, with notes of dark chocolate building as the palate develops. The wine takes on an almost classic cabernet profile, its tannins building to a crescendo of clove and a bit of smoky tar — giving the finish a somewhat tough edge that’s reminiscent of burnt end barbecue. This wine may settle down with some cellar time, but I doubt by much. B+ / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
2018 Girard Artistry Napa Valley – A blend of 69% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, 9% malbec, 6% cabernet franc, and 3% petit verdot, this wine is produced alongside the cabernet bottling. Beautifully balanced, this is a gorgeous wine from start to finish. Bold fruit notes of plum, currant, and cherry all come together with layers of vanilla, milk chocolate, and baking spice. Lingering blackberry jam notes sweeten up the finish. The DNA of the cab is definitely present in this wine, but it’s much more accessible today. 10 years from now, I figure things will be reversed. A / $60
2018 Girard Old Vine Zinfandel Napa Valley – Surprisingly light-bodied, this zin comes across with notes of black cherry and some raspberry, though its fruity exuberance wanes quickly, as tougher tannin, tea leaf, and a lingering cassis note come more into focus. It’s not an overly satisfying, lip-smacking expression of zinfandel, but it’s also quite harmless and inoffensive. B / $25