85% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, 4% Viognier. Helen Keplinger is widely regarded as one of the most talented and innovative winemakers in California. Prior to starting her eponymous wine label, she was the winemaker at Napa’s esteemed Cabernet house, Bryant Family Vineyard. Following Bryant Family Vineyard, Helen spent three years in the Priorat region of Spain where she became passionate about the culture, the lifestyle, and the wines of that region as well as the Rhone, where she would travel in her free time. Helen sources her Syrah and Grenache from old vines high in high-elevation sites so as not to lose the freshness of the grapes due to the hot weather. Sumo is a Cote Rotie twist on Petite Sirah – Petite Sirah co-fermented with Viognier, and blended with a small amount of Syrah. The grapes are all from the rocky, volcanic, impeccably-and-organically-farmed Shake Ridge Vineyard. The 2018 Sumo is a show-stopper! Aromas of ink, mixed berry cobbler, resin, lilies, carob, asphalt, boysenberry, blueberry, black peppercorn. The ultra-silky, mouth-filling palate is broad and plush, with sweet blue and black fruit, savory black peppercorn, flowers, tar, and graphite persisting through the very end of the super-long finish. Only 295 cases produced! Helen is certainly making a name for herself in the valley and it’s easy to see why.