96% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah, 1% Carignane
Russian River Valley
After last year’s limited crop, the vines abetted by early budbreak and a mild spring swung to the opposite extreme; we thinned at veraison to even the set and assure intensity. As with our other zinfandel vineyards, the grapes ripened earlier than ever before, and harvest was complete by mid-September. The nine small blocks fermented separately on their natural yeasts; twice-daily pump-overs provided gentle extraction. Seven were selected and assembled in late December, then racked to air-dried american oak barrels for aging. Though riper and weightier than the 2002 vintage, the 2004 shares its sensuous texture, approachability, and appealing red fruit. Delightful now, it will continue to develop over the next five to seven years. JO/PD (7/05)
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: Forty inches (normal)
Bloom: May (normal)
Weather: Cold, late spring. Moderate summer, more fog than normal. Indian summer in mid-September.
Harvest Dates: 4 – 15 September
Grapes: Average brix 26.2
Fermentation: No inoculation natural primary and secondary. Rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 34% one and two years old, 51% three to six years old)
Aging: Eleven months in barrel
Wine Advocate (30 Jun 2006): “Another outstanding wine, the potent 2004 Zinfandel Ponzo Vineyards (96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah and Carignane) exhibits a dark ruby/purple color along with notes of sweet vanillin (from new oak barrels), black raspberries, blueberries, and currants. Velvety-textured, broad, rich, full-bodied, and seductive, it should drink well for 5-6 years.” Rated: 91
Connoisseurs’ Guide (May 2006): “This particular marriage of vineyard and vintner has earned big marks in the past, and it again displays the deep, well-defined varietal fruit and careful balance that have been its hallmarks. It matches lots of sweet berries to lovely, creamy oak spice, and, while it has the heft and mass of a fully ripened wine, it lacks the heat and dryness that such ripeness can bring. It is so juicy in nature that it can easily be enjoyed now, but it has room to grow for a many years yet.” Rated: 92 (**)
California Grapevine (Feb-Mar 2006): “Medium to medium-dark ruby with purplish tinges; attractive, forward, spicy, jammy, sweet black raspberry fruit aroma; medium-full to full body; herbal, briary, ripe raspberry fruit flavors; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Developed with airing in the glass. Highly recommended.” (Group Score: 15.7 of 20 points, 0/0/0; My Score: 16.5 [88 of 100 points], eighth place)
Average Rating: 88.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 67
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