85% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, 1% Carignane
Russian River Valley
Color: Deep, purple-hued ruby. Nose: Bright, sweet raspberry, tropical fruit. Some floral notes, oak and black pepper spice, pine resin. Palate: Elegant entry; lively, round, fairly soft. Ripe stone and tropical fruits, cranberry in finish. Good acid/tannin balance. Quite sensuous.
This, our second Ponzo release, represents a stylistic change that reflects the difference between vintages. Spring rains during flowering in 2003 reduced yields by half – the region’s smallest crop in memory. Fewer grapes meant that ripeness came earlier, bringing concentration of both fruit and tannin; to avoid excessive extraction, we pressed by day six. After a year in airdried american oak barrels, the wine was given a late egg-white fining to focus the rich fruit and balance the still-firm tannins. Its bright acidity and spicy fruit make this zinfandel a superb example of the cool Russian River Valley area. Enjoyable as a young wine, it will soften and develop further complexity over the next three to seven years. JO/PD (11/04)
Cousins Phil and Bob Ponzo farm these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley. In 1991, when we purchased Lytton Springs Winery, we began using fruit from Phil’s vineyard; since then, those grapes have been the backbone of our multi-vineyard Sonoma Zinfandels. Bob’s vineyard, on similar soils a quartermile away, was first included four years ago. The Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens Ponzo shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of carignane and petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest blocks.
Rainfall: Sixty inches (slightly above normal)
Bloom: May (normal)
Weather: Cold, late spring. Moderate summer, more fog than normal. Indian summer in mid-September.
Harvest Dates: 18 – 24 September
Grapes: Average brix 24.9-; average pH at crush 3.36
Fermentation: No inoculation – natural primary and secondary. Rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at six days
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (18% new, 15% one year old, 67% two to five years old)
Average Rating: 87.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 38
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