Theopolis Vineyards Symphony and Petite Sirah: Serving Up Pleasure in the Bottle on #PinkSociety

Hello Friends, 

The fun-loving bunch at The Pink Society (#PinkSociety on Twitter) recently hosted Pink-Party #62 with special guest Ms. Theodora Lee. Ms. Lee is proprietor and winemaker of Theopolis Vineyards, a small vineyard and limited-production boutique producer located in the Yorkville Highlands appellation of Mendocino County. This wine region is a hidden gem, characterized by higher elevations, well-drained rocky soils, and wide diurnal swings—all ideal for growing high-quality grapes. 

Theopolis Vineyards Symphony and Petite Sirah

Affectionately known in wine circles as Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards, Ms. Lee is also senior partner and trial lawyer at Littler in San Francisco. In fact, a move to The Golden City from her native state of Texas after finishing law school in the late '80s sparked her interest in wine. Before then, Ms. Lee didn’t drink wine, despite her father making sweet homemade batches from old, wild muscadine grapes. I laughed out loud when she told us, “If you ever tasted that, you would never taste wine either.”

Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards!
Image by Theopolis Vineyards

As luck would have it, many of Ms. Lee’s new law firm mentors on the left coast owned vineyards, which she found gorgeous and tranquil. A dream was born! After all, farming was in her blood. At the tender age of eight, she learned how to drive a tractor during weekend trips to Ellis County where her father raised cattle and maintained a small garden. Working on the dream, she enrolled in several viticulture classes at UC Davis. The dream came to fruition in 2001 with the purchase of sheep land. Two years and many arduous tasks later, Ms. Lee planted a five-acre vineyard to Petite Sirah, a criminally underappreciated red variety known for producing long-lived, robust wines. “Our environment—the soil, the red clay—makes for a great place to grow Petite Sirah,” she says.  

Winner, Winner … Catfish and Symphony Dinner! 

Ms. Lee embraced her Greek name from pledging Delta Sigma Theta sorority at Spellman College, establishing Theopolis Vineyards. The theme follows suit on the label design, which features an ancient Egyptian figure. Back in college, Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards, specialized in serving up Pleasure in the Bottle, a cocktail she calls “Wonder-Punch.” Today, that pleasure, passion, hard work, and sense of place go into every bottle she crafts. Her Symphony and Petite Sirah were very enjoyable. I highly recommend both. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Theopolis Vineyards 2017 Symphony

Theopolis Vineyards 2017 Symphony (SRP $22): Symphony is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris developed in 1948 by the late Harold Olmo, a professor of viticulture at UC Davis. The grape wasn’t released for commercial production until 1982, and approximately 500 acres or less are planted in California. This example is deeply aromatic and pleasing. Inviting scents of spring blossoms, lychee, and bright stone fruit join juicy tropical tones on the palate. Medium-bodied and fresh, the wine has a welcoming lift of acidity, finishing with delightful, sweet-like fruitiness. A wonderful match for a wide variety of foods, I enjoyed it with southern air-fryer catfish, greens, and skillet cornbread. Only 100 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California. Other info: ABV 13.4%, fermented in stainless steel, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Theopolis Vineyards 2017 Petite Sirah

Theopolis Vineyards 2017 Petite Sirah (SRP $39): Petite Sirah is a distant cousin of Syrah. While it may not be as popular as its relative, Petite Sirah can be just as good—or even better. This estate-grown bottling pours a lovely deep purple (and tooth-staining) color. It boasts profound purple stone fruit aromas and flavors flecked with peppery spice—particularly white pepper, cedar box, and streaks of dried red berries. In the mouth, it is harmonious and nicely textured with balanced acidity and age-worthy, integrated tannins. Quite enjoyable as a slow sipper on its own, it would also make a wonderful addition to any feast. Only 216 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California. Other info: ABV 13.9%, matured in 34% new and 66% neutral French oak barrels for 20 months, bottled unfined and unfiltered, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine. 

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