VARIETAL/VINEYARD: This Zinfandel comes from our Primitivo-clone vineyard, planted in 1998. We favor the Primitivo-clone because it produces berries that are smaller and with thicker skins, versus typical California Zinfandel selections. This leads to a richer wine with more tannin, which is characteristic of old-vine Zin. Our Petite Sirah comes from a 1-acre block of vines located on our property that we designate as the “Benchland” plot due to its unique location between two terraced slopes, creating an ideal terroir for grape-growing.
VINTAGE/HARVEST: 2018 was an excellent growing season for Zinfandel. Cooler-than-normal August weather seemed to extend the growing season, which helped provide color, body, and maintain acidity. We harvested our Zin and Petite Sirah on September 23rd and 24th, which is normal timing for us. Our Petite Sirah was particularly fruity this year, which explains for it being 14% of the finished blend. As always, we crop-thin our vines early in the season to facilitate more complex wines. All of our grapes are hand-harvested by our full-time vineyard crew, some who have worked with us for over 25 years.
WINEMAKING: The grapes were de-stemmed and gently pumped into stainless steel tanks using a peristaltic pump. Fermentation started naturally without inoculation after a five-day cold-soak. We pump the must over twice a day. Upon dryness, the pomace is basket-pressed, blended with free-run wine, and transferred to French oak barrels (20% new). Petite Sirah is the X-factor for making balanced Zin in Dry Creek, for it provides color stability and tannin structure, as well as texture. We then blend in Barbera for acidity.
STYLE: Our 2018 Zinfandel is one of the most intensely fruity wines from this vineyard. The wine is dark, full-bodied and juicy, with flavors of boysenberry and pepper. The Barbera keeps the wine from being too clunky by adding freshness. You know how I feel about aging Zins—I generally don’t. But our 2018 Zin has enough tannin to age well for 3 to 5 years.—MJU