91% Zinfandel, 9% Carignane
For the second year in a row, limited winter rain and unseasonably cool spring weather caused these 75-year-old vines to set a small crop. The grapes—interplanted zinfandel and carignane—were picked in one pass, on September 8, and co-fermented on their naturally-occurring yeasts. Because color and tannin were plentiful, we reduced pump-overs to once daily, and pressed after eight days, at dryness. In December, following uninoculated malolactic fermentation, we transferred the wine to air-dried american oak barrels. During a year of aging, it was racked off its sediment every three months for natural clarification. To better complement the fruit, we increased the number of new barrels with each rack, never exceeding fifteen percent of the total. This restrained zinfandel exhibits beautifully focused fruit, a chalky structure, and balanced acidity. Enjoyable upon release, it will be at its best over the next five or six years.
This wine comes from a small planting of old-vine zinfandel on the Buchignani Ranch on Dutcher Creek Road in the hills north of Dry Creek Valley. (Carignane planted on the rest of the ranch provides a separate ATP selection.) The zinfandel block, approximately five acres in size, was planted sixty to seventy years ago. The vines are on a rocky knoll overlooking the family home where Stan Buchignani, grandson of the ranch’s founder, Domenico Cerruti, lives today.
Rainfall: 34 inches (below average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Dry winter saved by spring rains with a warm, dry summer and fall.
Harvest Date: 8 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.5˚
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary (malolactic), daily pump overs. Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 46 air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 30% one and two years old, 35% three years old, 20% four and five years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Grapes hand harvested, destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur added (35ppm at crush, 165ppm 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: 88.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 71
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