96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah
Our north coast vineyards began their growing season earlier than usual. Cool weather in March and April slowed the pace, which advanced again with unusually warm weather in June and July. As in 2005, ocean fog returned in August, pushing harvest back by three weeks. The grapes developed exceptional color and flavor-a benefit of slow ripening over a long season. Each of the vineyard’s eight parcels was crushed into a small open top tank. A vigorous natural-yeast fermentation started on the second day and finished by the sixth. Following a brief uninoculated secondary, we blind-tasted, eventually choosing four parcels on Carmichael’s eastern edge, where the soil is clay loam atop decomposed granite. A small amount of petite sirah (co-fermented with zinfandel) was added. Bottled after fifteen months in a barrel and five racks, this sensuous zinfandel is enjoyable now. It will develop fully over the next four to five years.
Originally a part of the Rancho Sotoyomi land grant, these hundred acres were purchased in the mid-1800s by Archibald Carmichael. Ridge began farming the western half in 2000. The soils differ considerably between the upper and lower blocks. The Carmichael comes from the blocks just below the abandoned right of way of the old Northwestern Pacific railroad. This is our third release from the ranch.
Rainfall: Above average, over 60 inches
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Wet spring and warmer than usual summer, cool fall.
Harvest date: 19 – 26 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.4°
Fermentation: A six day natural fermentation carried out in small fermentors; pressed early; natural secondary fermentation finished in three weeks.
Aging: Air-dried american oak: 5% new, 70% one and two year, 25% four and five year old barrels.
Time in barrel: Fifteen months
Average Rating: 89.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 40
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