After a second winter of meager rainfall, the 2009 growing season began in early April. In the hills north of Dry Creek, the old carignane vines set a modest but even crop of particularly small berries. June’s moderate weather gave way to more intense heat during July and August. Picking began September 8, and finished by September 11. As always, the five small vineyard blocks fermented on yeasts naturally present on the grapes. Pressed at dryness, the wine aged for twelve months in air-dried american oak barrels. To retain the bright fruit, new oak was limited to five percent. Enjoyable now, this delightful wine will develop fully over the next four to 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: 34 inches (below average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Dry winter with spring rains, followed by a warm, dry summer.
Harvest Date: 8 – 11 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.1˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at 7 days
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak (5% new, 35% one and two years old, and 60% three years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
All grapes hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 180 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: 89.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 55
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