67% Zinfandel, 31% Carignane, 2% Petite Sirah
Mazzoni Home Ranch
A mild winter provided sufficient rainfall for these non-irrigated vines. Cool spring weather delayed bloom, but an unusually warm summer brought harvest back on schedule. Planted as a field blend in the late nineteenth century, the four surviving Mazzoni blocks were picked over a three-week period in September, as each matured fully. Destemmed, crushed, and fermented separately on their natural yeasts, the grapes extracted quickly, and were pressed in six days. Blind-tasted in November, this year’s wine includes most of the back and middle-hill parcels, which have a higher percentage of interplanted zinfandel. It was cellared for seventeen months and racked each quarter to clarify naturally. This full-bodied wine shows the wonderful complexity and mineral earth typical of old vines. It will be most enjoyable over the next six 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: 10 – 30 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.6˚
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary, daily pump-overs. Pressed at six days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (36% one years old, 64% four to five years old).
Time in barrel: Seventeen 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. 0.8% rehydration (added to two particularly ripe parcels); minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush; 108 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: 90.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 78
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