50% Zinfandel, 49% Carignane, 1% Petite Sirah
Mazzoni Home Ranch
These century-old vines—head-pruned, and planted as a field blend—receive no irrigation. They rely on rainfall trapped in the rocky sub-soil. The vineyard was stressed by California’s second drought year, but a mild summer kept the vines from shutting down. The grapes, wonderfully concentrated, were picked early, at the start of September. Berry size was unusually small, producing a deep-colored wine of intense flavor. Fermentation was brief, and we pressed early to keep tannins in balance. We chose several carignane-dominant blocks, combining them with blocks comprised mainly of zinfandel. The wine aged in seasoned american oak barrels for sixteen months, and was racked off its sediment quarterly, for natural clarification. This excellent vintage displays the dimension of flavor typical of wines from field-blend vineyards. It will be at its best over the next seven to eight years.
Giuseppe Mazzoni and his fourteen-year-old brother-in law, Abramo Trusendi, arrived from Italy in 1898 and went straight to work at the Italian Swiss Colony vineyard cooperative in Asti, California. In 1899, the two managed to acquire hillside acreage nearby overlooking Alexander Valley from the west. By 1910 they had built a winery and begun making wine. Except for the Prohibition years, the Mazzoni family produced wine there until 1978. They were great believers in the contribution each varietal in a field blend could make to the finished wine. Accordingly, their century-old zinfandel is interplanted with carignane, which adds elegance and lively acidity, and petite sirah, which provides spice and depth. The Mazzoni Home Ranch was purchased in 1988 by Niccolo and Flora Oltranti. They have replanted parts of the abandoned hillside, and in some years we will include a small amount from these young zinfandel vines.
Rainfall: 30 inches (below average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Dry spring, typical warm, dry summer.
Harvest Date: 28 August – 1 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.9˚
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary, daily pump-overs. Pressed at seven days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (37% two years old, 63% three to five years old).
Time in barrel: Sixteen months
All Mazzoni Home Ranch grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. 2.8% rehydration (added to four particularly ripe parcels); minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush; 134 ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 90.0
No. of Tasting Notes: 69
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