This is our fifth vintage from the gnarled old carignane vines on Buchignani Ranch. Despite late-spring rains and winds, these hardy vines set a modest but even crop. After two years of relatively cool summer temperatures, hot weather—more typical of these hills just north of Dry Creek Valley-—set in by late July. Harvested in the third week of September, the grapes were fully destemmed, crushed, and left to ferment on their own yeasts. Twice-daily pumpovers, generous aerations, and peak fermentation temperatures allowed full extraction of color and tannins. After a natural malolactic fermentation, the wine aged for eleven months in three- to six-year-old american oak barrels. Its structure is balanced by subtle fruit and refreshing acidity. Bright and full flavored, this is the most elegant of the Buchignani carignanes. Enjoyable now, it will age well for the next three to five years.
Stan Buchignani’s ranch is located on Dutcher Creek Road, in the hills on the far western edge of the Alexander Valley appellation. The majority of the vineyard’s carignane was planted in the 1940s. Stan’s grandfather, Dominico Cerruti, planted the first block in 1927; his father, Dino, planted the last in the early 1950s. The vineyard’s climate bears a strong resemblance to that of upper Dry Creek Valley three miles to the south, where days are warmer. Fog, which tends to hang low in the valley, burns off sooner in the hills. Carignane from Buchignani is complex, its fine structure much like that of a field-blend zinfandel.
Rainfall: Approximately sixty inches
Weather: Warm days; cool, breezy nights.
Harvest Dates: 21 – 23 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.0°
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary. Ten days of pump-over.
Aging: Air-dried american oak barrels (half two and three years old, half four to six years old).
Time in Barrel: Twelve months
Average Rating: 86.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 20
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