Santa Cruz Mountains
Mild weather from February onward gave the 2004-growing season an early start. Jimsomare’s five acres of nineteenth-century zinfandel yielded a modest crop, providing only forty-two percent of the wine. The one-and-a-quarter acres of younger, more vigorous vines (planted 1996) accounted for the remaining fifty-eight percent. Both young and old were harvested at full flavor on the same day in mid-September. They fermented together on their natural yeasts in a small (three-ton) tank, quickly extracting amazing color and abundant tannin. After limited circulation, the grapes were pressed at six days, then returned to tank for natural secondary fermentation. The wine aged in four one-year-old and five four-year-old american oak barrels for eighteen months. This excellent zinfandel shows the structure and richness of classic, cool-climate mountain fruit. Enjoyable now, it will develop fully over the next six to eight years.
The five-hundred-acre Jimsomare Ranch, located between 1300′ and 2000′ on Monte Bello Ridge, is one of Ridge’s earliest grape sources. First cultivated in the late eighteen-hundreds by the Alsatian Pierre Klein, this prime viticultural land has been in San Francisco’s Schwabacher family for seventy years; Ridge took over farming in 1996 under the terms of a thirty-year lease. We were initially drawn to the site by its small block of nineteenth-century zinfandel vines, which have produced many intense, distinctive wines—most recently this fine 2004.
Rainfall: Twenty-six inches, (75% of normal)
Weather: Warmer than normal spring temperatures (warm March), Cooler April, moderate summer.
Harvest Date: 15 September
Grapes: Average brix 24.5˚
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at six days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (38% one year old, 50% four years old, 12% five years old)
Aging: Eighteen months in barrel
Average Rating: 89.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 7
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