Winter rains continued until February, when warm weather brought early budbreak. Despite the lack of spring rain, the vines showed no signs of water stress until just before harvest. Three of the parcels in the old Independence School district were riper than the rest. We fermented them separately and, after a natural malolactic, combined them for this unusually ripe, concentrated Old School Zinfandel. Given its significant residual sugar, we enhanced definition by increasing the amount of new oak used in aging. This opulent wine pairs well with rich food, and is equally suitable for an evening by the fire. Enjoyable now, it will develop further over the next five to seven years.
The two-room Independence School was built in 1870’s and served the ranches south of Geyserville for nearly a century. Several of the small vineyards we harvest in what is now Geyserville Township are located in the historic school district. The old school, now a residence, stands adjacent to the vineyards.
Rainfall: Thirty-five inches (slightly below normal)
Bloom: Mid-May (normal)
Weather: Dry spring and warm dry summer, with no sustained heat spells
Harvest Date: 3 – 10 September
Grapes: Average Brix 28.3˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and fully crushed to small (1-5 ton capacity) fermentors; natural yeast fermentation; pressed at eight days; natural malolactic.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak (33% new, 67% two years old)
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
Average Rating: 88.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 77
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