The late spring rains of 2005 were welcome, and a benefit to the dry-farmed carignane and zinfandel on Buchignani Ranch. Carignane yields were good, but did not match the bumper crop of zinfandel. In this very warm area on the hills just north of upper Dry Creek Valley, summer temperatures were surprisingly moderate. To determine the best possible picking time, we systematically sample grapes from various parts of the vineyard. Early on, we discovered higher-thanusual acidity, so waited an additional week to improve balance and achieve a more sensuous wine; all the carignane was harvested September 28. After natural primary and secondary fermentations, the wine aged for a year in three-, four-, and five-year-old american oak barrels. More assertive than previous vintages, this delightful carignane will be most enjoyable over the next 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 warm. 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: 60 inches (above average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Cool, wet winter and spring, moderate
summer, with no intense heat at harvest.
Harvest Dates: 28 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.6˚
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and
secondary. Total maceration time was 7 days, with a
single pumpover each day.
Aging: Air-dried american oak barrels (33% three
years old, 33% four years old and 34% five years old).
Time in barrel: 12 months
Average Rating: 89.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 39
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