77% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 6% Petite Sirah
Mazzoni Home Ranch
In 1899, Giuseppe Mazzoni acquired a small, steepsided valley just north of Geyserville, and this wine contains several of the original century-old zinfandel, carignane, and petite sirah blocks. Cold, wet weather in April and May delayed the growing season and cut crop size; not until a burst of heat in early September did the season catch up. The old zinfandel ripened first, followed by old carignane and, last, the young zinfandel on the terraced hills. The seven small parcels fermented separately on their own yeasts; halfway through, we cut back the circulation of juice over skins to avoid extracting excess tannin. As malolactic began, the wines were racked to air-dried american oak barrels. Assembling them in blind tastings, we chose half old-vine, half young-vine lots; the complex press wine was also included. This fine zinfandel is appealing now, and will develop further over the next five to seven years.
Giuseppe Mazzoni and his fourteen-year-old brother-in-law, Abramo Trusendi, arrived from Italy in 1898 and went straight to work at the Italian Swiss Colony vineyard cooperative in Asti, California. In 1899, the two managed to acquire hillside acreage nearby overlooking Alexander Valley from the west. By 1910 they had built a winery and begun making wine. Except for the Prohibition years, they produced wine there until 1978. The Mazzonis were great believers in the contribution each varietals in a field blend could make to the finished wine. Accordingly, their century-old zinfandel is interplanted with carignane, which adds elegance, and petite sirah, which provides spice and depth. The Mazzoni Home Ranch was purchased in 1988 by Niccolo and Flora Oltranti. They have replanted parts of the hillside to zinfandel, supplementing the old vines’ output.
Rainfall: Sixty inches (slightly above normal)
Weather: Cool spring, mild summer, warm fall.
Harvest Date: 10 September – 21 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.0°
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary, daily pump-overs. Pressed at nine days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% one year old, 45% two years old, 35% three years old)
Time in Barrel: Eighteen months
Average Rating: 87.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 24
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