95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah
Russian River Valley
Color – Garnet Nose – Crushed black pepper, raspberry and cranberry fruits, dried Provencal herbs, roasted coffee beans, hint of barrel toast and spice. Palate – Juicy raspberry fruit, firm acidity, bright flavors, tea leaves, dusty earth, moderate chalky tannin structure; smooth finish.
Cool spring weather and foggy mornings delayed fruit set at Bob Ponzo’s Russian River vineyard. Thinning of the younger vines in mid-July helped speed ripening, though cool, rainy weather in early September delayed harvest until early October. After natural primary and secondary fermentations, we blindtasted the three vineyard blocks, choosing the Old Vines and Triangle parcels to make the 2006 Ponzo. The wine aged in air-dried american oak for twelve months before bottling. Fifteen percent new oak adds sweetness and complexity, complementing the natural acidity and fine tannins. This cool-climate zinfandel shows the exotic fruit typical of the Russian River region. It will be at its best over the next five to six years. JO (11/07)
Bob Ponzo has farmed these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley since 1999. Bob’s vineyard, on deep gravely loam soils four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs provides all of the grapes for the Ponzo zinfandel. The Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens this fruit shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.
Rainfall: Fifty-five inches (normal)
Bloom: Mid-May (normal)
Weather: Cool, wet spring; warm dry summer. Rain at the end of harvest.
Harvest Dates: 3 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.7
Fermentation: No inoculation — natural primary and secondary; rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at ten days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 25% one and two years old, 65% three to six years old)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Connoisseurs’ Guide (January 2009): “If not at all lacking in richness nor in the keen, blackberry fruit that marks top Zinfandels, this mannerly wine also counts balance among its chief virtues. Slightly fleshy and supple in feel with a bit of acidity brightening its finish, it shows plenty to like at the moment but is built in away that suggests even more to come with age.” Rated: 89 (*)
Wine Spectator (29 September 2008): “A bit untamed, yet appealing for its berry pie and white pepper aromas and baked rhubarb, smoky licorice and toasty dill flavors. Drink now through 2015.” (Rated: 87) -Tim Fish
California Grapevine (Vol. 34, No. 4, August-September 2008): “Medium to medium-dark ruby; forward, toasty, earthy, slightly herbaceous, cherry and red berry fruit armoa with overtones of charred oak; full body; herbal, cedary, plummy, dark berry fruit flavors; medium-full tannin; slightly harsh on finish; lingering aftertaste. Highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 15.8 of 20 points, 0/0/0; My Score: 16.5 [87/100], tenth place)
Average Rating: 89.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 32
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