98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
Russian River Valley
Medium garnet. Scented red fruits, tart plum, white pepper, dried herbs, crushed stone. Elegant entry; sweet red currant, strawberry, lightly toasted oak. Medium body, finely woven tannins, refreshing acidity. Approachable. -Eric Baugher (2/11)
Late rains delayed the growing season at Bob Ponzo’s vineyard in the Russian River Valley, but summer leaf-pulling maximized sunlight on the clusters, and expedited ripening. Harvest began on October 2, and finished six days later, just ahead of this fall’s torrential storm. The grapes macerated for eight days during native-yeast fermentation, yielding a wine rich in color and fruit, with firm natural acidity. After uninoculated malolactic fermentation, the wine aged for thirteen months in air-dried american oak barrels. Enjoyable now, this sumptuous zinfandel will be at its best over the next five years. JO (9/10)
Bob Ponzo has farmed these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley since 1999. Bob’s vineyard, on deep gravely loam soils four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs, provides all of the grapes for this zinfandel. The Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens this fruit shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.
Rainfall: Thirty-four inches (below normal)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Dry winter saved by spring rains; typical warm, dry summer.
Harvest Dates: 2 – 8 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.6
Fermentation: No inoculation- natural primary and secondary; rapid color and tannin extraction. Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 30% three and four years old, and 10% five year old)
Aging: Thirteen months in barrel
Wine Enthusiast (September 2011) – “While the Russian River Valley is a cool-climate area, the vineyard sourcing for this wine is in a warmer, eastern part of the appellation. It’s ultra-rich in berry, licorice, and bacon flavors that are sweet in the middle palate, but finish with a dry scour of tannins. Lovely now and over the next six years.” -Steve Heimoff (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 37, No. 3, June-July 2011): “Medium to medium-dark ruby; attractive, forward, rip, briary, raspberry and boysenberry fruit aroma with cedary notes and a hint of white pepper; full body; rich, briary, toasty, red berry fruit flavors with firm acidity and a bit tight and drying on the finish; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.3, 1/3/1; My Score: 17 [91/100], second place)
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (May-June 2011): “Bright ruby. Raspberry, blueberry and vanilla aromas are complicated by tobacco and dried flowers and lifted by a spicy element. Sweet and dense but lively, with energetic spicy cut and a vanillin oak nuance to the flavors of plum jam, blue fruits and licorice. A peppery, refreshingly bitter herbal note adds nerve to the long, smooth finish. I’d serve this with a spicy piece of grilled lamb or steak.” -Josh Raynolds (90 points)
Average Rating: 90
No. of Tasting Notes: 88
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