Every few years we pick a few tons of Petite Sirah from the Bald Mountain Vineyard, high in the Mayacamas to make a dessert wine, like a vintage-style Port. I like the combination of the Mountain fruit (rich and tannic) and the variety Petite Sirah (dark and tart) because in the making of Port style wines the fermentation is stopped by adding high proof brandy. This “Fortification”, as it’s called, can dilute some of the color, acid and tannin of the wine, so it’s best done with a hearty variety like Petite Sirah that can withstand this treatment. At ~19% alcohol, the Espiritu needs to mellow in cask for 18 months to tame the headiness of the brandy. I source our Brandy from St George Spirits in Alameda, an exceptional artisan distiller who works with a classic copper, Holstein still. The wine is named Espiritu, after Eduardo Espiritu, who spent 30 years in the cellars of Cuvaison and had a similarly rugged temperament.